LIBRARY OF THE
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA
^s a. /%*?*** fi>~
SUMMER DAYS AND WINTER NIGHTS.
THE AUTHOR OF "A TRAP
TO CATCH A SUNBEAM."
MRS. RUSSELL GRAY.
F. M. PEARD.
TRANCES M. WILBRAHAM.
GKOOMBRIDGE AKD SONS,
BEKTLEY AlfD CO., TBINTEBS, LONDON.
GOLDEN AUTUMN. BY THOMAS MILLEE.
MY LONGEST WALK. BY MBS. RUSSELL GEAY.
THE YOUNG FORESTERS. BY FEANCES BEOWNE.
HELENA'S DUTIES. BY THE AUTHOE OP "A TEAP TO
CATCH A SUNBEAM."
MARGIE'S REMEMBRANCES. BY F. M. PEABD.
PURPLES AND BLUES. BY EMILY TAYLOE.
THE EXILES OF BEREZOY. BY FBANCES M. WILBEAUAM.
"aoou DOG! GOOD EOT! HOME, BOB, HO IE!"
BY THOMAS MILLEB.
r\ OLDEN autumn, with its broad dashes of orange and
VJ crimson, thrown in amid the fading green of the
foliage, now painted the landscape ; and all along our
river-side shores, and far inland amongst our thorpes
and granges there was a rustling of Harvest, and
tawny reapers wielding their crooked sickles in the sun-
browned corn-fields. Many a picturesque village stood
with its thatched cottages empty and silent, for even the
very poorest, who lacked employment at other seasons
of the year, had now gone forth like the Ruth of old
to glean, and taken their children with them to keep
them out of harm's way, and help to gather up a few
straggling ears of corn ; for it was the harvest-time of
the poor as well as the rich. Even the little tailor had
uncrossed his slender legs, thrown down his needle and
thimble, and gone out to shear the corn ; and the wax-
smelling old cobbler had laid down his spectacles, last,
and awl, and sallied forth to join the reapers ; so that
there was no getting a patch from the one, nor a stitch
from the other, though you were out at the elbows and
down at the heels. Excepting the grunting of the
hungry pigs in their sties, the cackling and running of
the poultry, and the humming of the bees round the
hives, there was no stir of life about the little cottage
gardens, which were so often filled with the noise of
children ; even the clean white cat was shut out, and
sat washing her face in the sunshine, or peering about
with half-shut eyes as if wondering why all around her
was so still. The few human figures that you saw
moving about the village streets were either going -^ith
heavy baskets and bottles, filled with provisions arid
drink, to the harvest fields, or returning with them
empty, to ask for more ; for the farmer neither stinted
what was taken from his larder nor barrels at this busy
season, when his men and maidens worked their
Into a large corn-field, dotted everywhere with the
figures of reapers and gleaners, a surly-looking farmer
guided his horse, and beckoning to his foreman, who
came up with his sickle hanging on his arm, wiping the
perspiration from his forehead on his shirt-sleeve, he
said, " What are all those women and children doing
here, John ? Is this the way you obey my orders ?
Didn't I tell you I wouldn't have any gleaners in my
fields excepting Alice and her old grandmother*, until
the corn was got in ?"
" I told Alice so," replied the man, " but she said
they were all neighbours whom you knew, and that she
was sure you would let them glean when yon came.
But here she comes to answer for herself."
The maiden who approached seemed in no great
hurry, but stooped every here and there to pick up an
ear of corn as she came up. When standing before the
horseman, she raised her beautiful face, and said, "I
hope, Mr. IVx, you won't be cross with me for telling
our poor neighbours that I was sure you would allow
them to glean, as well as me and grandmother, so long
as they didn't meddle with the sheaves, nor go too close
to the reapers."
" You and your grandmother I believe to be honest,"
answered the farmer, with somewhat of a stern look ;
" last year when I let these people in, before the corn
was led, I found a sheaf hidden away under the brick
arch, by the gate, in the ditch."
"I am sure it wasn't put there by any one now
gleaning," replied Alice. " I would trust poor Widow
Wetherby and her three children with uncounted gold,
if I had it ; and, as to old Peggy Dixon and her daughter,
they are religious people ; and all the rest I know to be
honest : and when I saw them all hanging about the
gate this morning as grandmother and I came in, I
thought it was a sin to see the corn lying on the ground,
and nobody to pick it up, and so many little mouths as
some of those poor mothers have to fill."
"Well well; they may stay since they are here,"
answered the farmer, surlily. " But remember, if they
do anything wrong, I shall blame you," saying which he
dismounted, thrust his hand in a sheaf of corn to see
how it was drying, rubbed out an ear or two, then re-
mounted, and rode off at a brisk trot to some other of
his corn-fields, to see how his reapers were getting on
All the gleaners had ceased from their labour, and
stood watching the farmer and Alice, not certain whether
they would be allowed to remain until he had gone ; and
when she drew near, sending the silvery ring of her
sweet voice before her, as she shouted out, " All right,"
the children replied with aloud "hurrah."
" Bless her sweet face, I thought he couldn't refuse
her when she asked, though he is a hard man to deal
with," said the grandmother to her old gossip, Peggy
Dixon, who was gleaning beside her. " It's hard to deny
her anything, and she is contented with so little."
" It would be a shame if he did," replied Peggy ;
" for the whole of the land, I believe, belongs to her if
she had her rights. What is the ten pounds a year
he pays for it? Why, I have heard that Farmer
Sooby would be glad to rent the estate at a hundred
" Well, you know, Peggy, that was all he paid when
Alice's father was alive," replied the grandmother ; " I
have been by when Mr. Fox has paid it many a time.
He put down a large sum for the lease ; some hundreds,
I believe. But all my son-in-law's papers were burnt in
the Reform riots, and when her father died there was
nothing to show, either how much or how little Mr.
Fox had paid, nor how long nor how short his lease was
for. He says he has his lease all right and straight, and
can produce it any day. I am no lawyer you know,
Peggy, and shouldn't understand it if I saw it."
" Neither am I, so far as that goes," replied Peggy;
" but I know a B from a battledore, and were Alice my
grandchild, I would see Mr. Fox's lease, and try my
hardest to understand all about it. I know what I've
heard, and I haven't over much faith in a man who
never gives a straightforward answer to a plain ques-
tion. Did you never ask to see it ?"
" I shouldn't like to give offence," said the grand-
mother ; " for he has a short, sharp sort of a way with
him, that isn't at all pleasant at times. And though
two pounds ten shillings a quarter isn't very much for
two of us to live upon, and pay our way, yet it's all we
have, excepting the trifle we earn other ways ; and, were
we to lose that, things would go harder with us than
they do, and want pinches us pretty hard at times ; but
nip as much as it may, Alice never complains. Bless
her, she's my greatest comfort on earth, and will, I trust,
be my companion in heaven, to which my daughter, her
dear mother, has gone a little while before us."
" Alice is all that any right heart could wish her to
be," replied Peggy; "I wish Mr. Fox was only half
as good as she is. But when a man asked a plain
question says, ' I've got a lease, and I've paid for it,
and that's enough for me, how long, or how short, ^s
my business and Alice's graiidmotfier's, and nobody '*
else's that I know of, and she is quite wise enough and
old enough to let well alone. As to what papers Alice's
father lost in the fire, when his house and rickyards
were burnt, that's nothing to me. Perhaps my lease is
for ninety-nine years, happen not so long, those who
have plenty of money to spend in law will find **> ou-t if
they wish. It will be time enough for >r^ to prod&
my lease when Alice wants it.' That's the wav ho
talks, as I have heard. She is not more ihan fourteen,
is she ?"
** Fourteen last Valentine's day," answered the
grandmother, " and a prettier valentine no mother was
ever presented with. I'm sure when she was a little
baby I used to sit and look at her, until I sometimes
fancied she had only just come, iu all ber innocence and
beauty, fresh from the gates of heaven, where my
dear daughter is now waiting for her to come back
Alice had by this time gleaned her way up to her
grandmother, and throwing back her beautiful long
brown hair, which had fallen down while she stooped to
pick up the scattered ears of corn, she came with a
sweet smile on her handsome, sun-tanned countenance,
and said, " You must be tired, dear granny, go and sit
down in the shade, and rest yourself for an hour. I
covered the bottle f milk up in the cool grass under
the hedge, and I a i sure you will quite enjoy it, along
with the cake I baked this morning ; I will come and
join you as soon as I have gleaned another good handful.
I've made you a nice soft seat. Go with her, Peggy,
and taste my cake. It was made with the new milk
Farmer Ashcroft sent us this morning, along with the
fresh butter, of which I put a pretty good lump in the
" Ay, that accounts for the sugar-basin being so low
as it is," said the grandmother, shaking her finger at
Aline. " Come along, Peggy, and let's taste her seed-
cake, and if you don't make haste, Alice, perhaps we
shall eat it all," and the happy-minded old women went
away laughing together to rest themselves beneath the
broad-branched oak that grew near the hedgerow, where
the standing corn for a fe\v yards still remained green
under its cooling shadow.
It was a pretty picture to see Alice standing in the
corn-field in her faded cotton dress, the autumn sun
shine streaming full on her sweet gentle face, and giving
a golden colour to her rich brown hair, and the ripe corn
she held in her hand, as with a sweet smile, she saw the
old women drawing nearer to their resting-place, and
thought how much her grandmother would enjoy her-
self while she remained behind to glean. Then she
bent her graceful figure, and began to work in earnest,
picking up as many ears of corn in a few minutes as her
aged grandmother would have been a long hour in
gathering, nor ever once making a straight back until it
fairly ached again through stooping so long. In vain
did her grandmother call " Alice," to which she shouted
back, " I'm coming soon ;" she still kept on gleaning
until she saw her grandmother arise from her seat ; then
she knew she was coming for her, so went to join her,
knowing that by doing so she should prevail over her
to rest a little longer.
Then what patience she displaj T ed towards the dear
little ragged dirty children, as they picked their way up
to her from every corner of the field ; the sharp stubble
piercing their hard, rough, bare legs at every step they
took. One asking her to tie up its glean as it held up
the little handful of corn ; another to clip oiF the straw,
and put the ears of corn in the little poke that was tied
round its tiny waist. She attended to all, kissed their
dear dirty faces, when she had done what they wanted,
and sent them away happy ; meeting them with the
same sweet smile when they again came to her for
Alice never made a trouble of duty, nor considered
that time misspent which she bestowed on others to make
them happy. For attending on her aged grandmother
had taught her the great lesson of patience. By a long
course of kindness and attention she had learnt to know
even the very wishes of her aged relative, and to supply
her every want before a word was spoken. To see granny
arise from her chair, when she was comfortably seated, only
to reach anything she might want, seemed a silent rebuke
to Alice, and by continued watching she was at last able to
read her very looks, and could do what was required with-
out grandmother opening her lips. Then what a rich
reward was that fond kiss, that gently-spoken " Thank
you, my sweet child," and that look of unutterable and
affectionate tenderness which no language could ever
convey. The greatest pleasure Alice could find was in
endeavouring to make her grandmother happy, and the
prayers of that old woman were ever ascending to
heaven, entreating that her grandchild might ever re-
main as good and virtuous as she was then, and that no
shadow of evil might ever darken the sunshine which
lighted her innocent eyes. To see her stepping west-
ward in the evening sunset, carrying the trailing corn
they had gleaned, on her head, while the ears fell
about her beautiful face as she was followed by her
stooping grandmother, looked as if rosy Summer harf
alighted on the earth, and was leading home aged
From the time she was ten years of age, Alice had
turned her attention seriously to the means of increasing
her grandmother's income, so that she might procure for
her a few additional comforts which her great age re-
quired. She had sharp ears, quick eyes, a willing mind,
nimble fingers, and feet too stirring ever to let the
grass grow under them while there was anything to do,
and whatever she undertook to do she set about it
earnestly. Farmer Ashcroft, who was always giving
her something or another, and as her grandmother said,
" would, I believe, give her his head if it were loose,
and she wanted it, and he could manage to do without
it by any c mander ' of means," gave her a hen, then a
nestful of eggs for it to hatch, and Alice had soon as
fine a brood of chickens as were to be found in the
whole village. By the time she was twelve, she had
quite a large poultry-yard, and had such "luck" with
them, as the neighbours called it, that she seldom lost a
chicken; though all Alice's "luck" lay in good manage-
ment, for like herself they had always a nice clean, fresh
look. When she had no household work to do, she
would take her sewing with her, and drive them
out into the broad breezy common, which was
close at hand, and there let them run about and
pick up what they could find 4 while she kept her eye on
them and her work at the same time ; and that was what
kept them so healthy plenty of air and exercise, the
same that caused such a rosy bloom to blush in her own
soft cheeks. She could easier get half-a-crown apiece for
her hens that were ready to lay than her neighbours could
get a shilling each for their own draggled, dirty, and
neglected poultry. Then the little market town was
hardly two miles from the cottage, and she seldom went
there to sell her eggs and poultry without bringing back
a gill of raisin wine for her grandmother, especially in
cold weather, because she always went to bed so warm
and comfortable after taking a dessert-spoonful of it with
a little hot water and sugar.
Nor was it in the corn-fields alone that Alice and her
grandmother gathered in their harvest during the season
of golden autumn; for elderberries and blackberries
abounded along all the miles of hedges that surrounded
the neighbourhood ; there were also plenty of nuts in
the old woods, and here and there among the ancient
hedgerows, great sloe and bullace bushes, that bore fruit
as large as damsons, and with a bloom on them like black
grapes when they were ripened and purpled by the gentle
frosts of October. There were also old pastures that had
never been anything but grazing land within the memoiy
of man, and there mushrooms sprang up plentifully,
with gills as crimson as those of newly-caught fresh-
water fish, and crowns as white as snow ; and Alice often
arose in the gray dawn, and returned with a large basket-
ful of mushrooms before her grandmother was up, and a
famous price did these things fetch at times in the little
market-town. Then her grandmother went with her
" elderberrying, blackberrying, nutting, and sloeing " as
the plain country people called the gathering of these
wild fruits, and they took a little basket of provision
with them, and remained out the whole day, where only
the wild, free workings of Nature were to be seen for
miles together, and scarcely a vestige of the handicraft
of man ; nooks and corners where the flowers bloomed
and died, unlocked upon saving by the birds, bees, and
butterflies, and the wonderful insect inhabitants that
revel and play amid their pollen and petals. They went
together into the dim bowery hollows of the great woods
in quest of nuts, where all was so still and silent, that
when they stood at times to listen, their own breathing
was the only sound that was audible. Even the tapping of
the woodpecker seemed to make such solitudes " stiller
by its sound." But most of all did Alice delight to sit
and eat her dinner beside a large clear pool, that spread
out in the centre of one of those ancient woods, showing
like another sky, and reflecting every tree that grew on
its wild margin.
She loved to look at the great dashes of crimson
thrown from the broad bunches of mountain-ash berries,
and lying like fiery lamps as their shadows were mirrored
in the water ; to see the woody nightshade, after it had
shaken off the dark purple petals and golden anthers,
hang out its berries of the richest scarlet, while looking
as tempting as ripe red currants to the eye, though she
well knew the danger there lay in tasting them. Thers
too grew the gorgeous spindle-tree, which scarcely arresti
our attention in summer, but now seemed as if covered
with roses ; for so do the seed-vessels appear in autumn,
when the capsules open like the petals of a beautiful
flower. They gathered the fruit of the bird-cherry,
which changes from green to red, and then into dark
luscious purple, like the grape, and which they were wisfl
enough to eat moderately, for well did granny know the
consequences that had followed through indulging in the
rich fruit immoderately, and she never failed in impart-
ing her experience to Alice. But of all Alice's favourites,
the dogwood, or wild cornel, was the greatest ; and the
first time her grandmother pointed it out to her, she
clapped her little hands, and began dancing around it to
give expression to her feelings of delight, exclaiming over
and over again, " Oh, how very beautiful !" To her
childish eye it seemed like one of the fairy trees, trans-
planted from the enchanted gardens she had read of in
the wild stories her grandmother bought to amuse her ;
for the good old woman be-.ieved that such imaginary
tales exercised the fancy, and kept the mind at work
better than dry details of facts, which Alice too often
yawned over; and well might she fancy that such a
"beautiful shrub had grown in fairyland, for the wood pro-
duced nothing beside that resembled it in autumn,
with its purple berries, red branches, and green and yel-
low foliage, which, all mingled together, presented such
a blaze of crimson and gold, spotted with jet, and dashed
with green, that ifc dazzled the sight like looking upon a
gorgeous bed of variegated flowers. Then there was the
".kindling" of autumn! that firing up of the tree into
all kinds of rich colours, as if torches of many-hued
flames were applied to the foliage to make a blaze of all
the green and faded garments of departed summer. She
noticed the oak tinged with as many various hues, as if
the decaying foliage of half a dozen different trees were
massed together, so many are the tints it wears, beside
browns of every shade. She saw the beech rising like a
gigantic gorse-bush, covered every way with golden-
coloured flowers, for so appears the burning orange of
its myriads of changing leaves. She saw the ash throw
off its leafy garment early, and knew that the seed
bunches which remained would blacken and rattle in the
winter winds, when nearly all the other trees were naked.
She delighted to hear the rattle of the yellowish-green
acorns above her head, and laughed merrily as they fell on
her old battered bonnet, bringing down with them the
carved cups which she had often set out on her tiny tea-
table when a very little child, calling the larger ones
saucers, and placing the smaller ones inside for tea-cups,
while she played at a " make-believe " tea-party, and
granny thanked her every time she handed to her the
little acorn cup and saucer, and troubled her for a little
more imagined sugar and fancy-made cream. Then as
they sat together in the fading woods, her grandmother
would moralize on the falling leaves, and tell her how
another summer would see others waving on the branches
which those had left naked, crowding in and filling up
the vacant spaces, the same as another race would suc-
ceed her and Alice when they were gone. And Alice
would think it were better so than to leave the beautiful
green curtains which summer had hung up every way,
when they were tattered and worn, and discoloured and
torn in every direction, and that autumn made room for'
spring to come with her pale green arras, and give a new
beauty and a fresh pattern to the foliage. And so her
thoughts turned naturally in her fresh young life to the
budding beauties of spring, while the mind of her grand-
mother wandered beyond the decay of autumn to the dark-
ness of winter, and looked not again for the spring that
lay buried among the hidden flowers. Many a moral
lesson did that good old woman read to her grand-
child when they wandered together through those old
It was very strange, but Farmer Fox never looked
pretty Alice straight in the face, but loured at her from
under the deep pent-house of his brows, or if she did
happen to catch his eye, it was when he glanced at her
sideways, and then he looked another way the very
instant he saw her eyes fixed upon him. She was too
young to notice this, and too innocent to entertain an
evil thought against any one ; but this strange habit did
not escape the keen glance of old Peggy Dixon, and in
her plain-spoken way she said, " If he isn't a rogue he
looks like one, and that's almost as bad. I feel certain
in my own mind that he has wronged dear Alice in some
way or another, for which his guilty conscience is ever
accusing him, and that's why he can never look the
child straight in the face."
"It's a very bad thing, Peggy," the grandmother
wonld reply, " to think ill of anybody, unless you have
just cause, for I believe there are as many evil minds
nnder handsome faces as there are under ugly ones.
Nobody can help their looks ; what a body's like doesn't
matter a pin, so long as the heart's in the right
" Ah, well, we shall see some day or another, if we
are only spared long enough," Peggy would answer ;
" but I never knew any one yet whose heart was in the
right place that couldn't look you straight in the face,
unless they happened to squint. Fox by name, and fox
by nature I say he is ; he gives everybody a roundabout
answer, and there's nothing either plain or straight-
forward in anything he does or says, that I can see. I
would make him show that lease, if I had anything to
do with it, or I would know why."
Although Alice's grandmother tried to think well of
everybody, and if she heard anything bad against a
person, sat down and endeavoured to recollect all the
good he or she had done, yet she could not call to
remembrance any generous or noble action that she had
ever heard of Farmer Fox doing, beyond allowing a few
of tho *)oor villagers to glean before the corn was led
out oJ the field, at the intercession of Alice. Before
that time she had often heard of his driving the whole
of the gleaners out of his fields, but even then she tried
to believe some of them had done something wrong.
The remarks of Peggy Dixon at length began to leave
their impression on her mind, and she looked back into
the past, and tried to recall events that had happened
before Alice's father died.
She remembered well the Reform riots, and how the
corn-stacks in the neighbourhood were burnt, and flamed
reddening on the dark winter midnight ; and how her
son-in-law's house and stacks were reduced to ashes, and
also how he had neglected to pay up his fire-insurance
all this she remembered well. Also, how at that time
he was laying out a deal of money on his farm, in drain-
Ing, trenching, and planting, having as many as forty or
fifty men at work, and how he had mortgaged that por-
tion of the estate he was at work upon to carry out
those improvements, which practical farmers said
" they had no doubt it would pay well in the long ran,
though it would be some years before he saw a shilling
of his money back again." Nor had she forgotten what
trouble her daughter had after his death, and when the
mortgage was paid, what a few pounds were left after
that part of the freehold was sold. That he had received
a sum of money of Mr. Fox, and had granted him a
lease of the remainder of the freehold, leaving him
only to pay a rental of ten pounds a year, in considera-
tion of the sum advanced at the time the lease was
granted, she knew, not only from her daughter, but
also through having been present when Mr. Fox paid
the rent to Alice's father, and that was all she knew.
Now it was a custom in this part of the country to
grant at times what is called in law a lease parol that
is, by promise only, or word of mouth on payment of a,
certain rent. As for a written lease, it was often nothing
more than a piece of paper, drawn up and signed by
two homely farmers, the lessor and the lessee, the first
of which is the person granting the lease, and the second
the party to whom the lease is granted ; and this was
done commonly, without ever thinking of employing a
lawyer, or having oven witnesses, unless the lease was
for a long term of years ; for among honest homely men
the signature of each was held to be sufficient, and they
were iu the habit of talking openly of what they had
done, so that all the neighbours knew everything relating
to one another's transactions. The case between Alice's
father and Farmer Fox was an exception, because the
latter was not a social man, was neither neighbourly nor
friendly with anybody, nor ever entrusted a living soul
with any of his important business or secret transactions.
So he held the large farm, as he had done, for thirteen
years, and paid his rental quarterly to Alice's grand-
mother, but very rarely without giving her battered
sixpences and shillings, worn so thin and smooth that it
was difficult to tell one side from the other. At times
Farmer Ashcroft used to laugh at his strange ways, take
up the battered money, and give the old woman his
newest coin in exchange, then pay it back again to
Farmer Fox when he settled his malt bill, for Mr. Fox
was both farmer and maltster.
Curly-headed Bob everybody called him Bob, and
he had a dog which was also named Bob, and when
people called out " Bob" he ran, and the dog ran as if
they both wished to see which of the two was wanted
never went to school of a morning without first calling
at grandmother's cottage to see if she wanted anything
bringing from the little market-town. Nearly two miles
there, and the same distance back, did curly Bob trudge
night and morning, rain or fair, with his dog for a com-
panion, and his books fastened together by a leathern
strap ; now whistling, now singing, then picking up a
stone to throw at a bird, or running a race with his dog
one of the happiest, willingest, merriest, sharpest lada
to be found in the whole village.
"Ay ! he is his father's own son," old Peggy Dixon
used to say ; " for I remember Farmer Ashcroft, when
he was just like his boy Bob, and had the very same ways ;
but I was a young woman then."
Having thrust his happy face, which it was a pleasure
to look at, through the open doorway, and asked the usual
question, he would then add, "Can I do anything for you
this morning, Alice, before I go to school ? if I can, I've
got half an hour to spare."
And so in time Bob came to do many things without
asking, before he went or after he returned from school,
and seemed to take as much pleasure in helping Alice
as the pretty maiden did in attending on her grand-
mother. And sometimes his heart so overbrimmed with
pleasure, when she had found him any extra work to do,
and detained him longer than usual, that he could not
help saying, " Oh, Alice ! I do like to help you better
than anybody in the whole wide world." Bob almost
run as if he would break his neck with haste to do
what a lazy, selfish boy would have gone crawling
half a mile out of his way to have avoided. He drew
water enough to last all day, for he said, " It is too
hard work for Alice to turn the spindle, and haul up
that great bucket fall ;" dug the garden, and helped her
to weed it ; brought all the corn from his father's granary
for her poulti-y what a many times Alice had asked
Farmer Ashcroft how much she owed him for corn, and
got no other answer than, " We will have a settling
some day, and Bob shall make out the bill, and send
it you along with his valentine, or I may want a chicken
or two ; we'll see some time or another." But he con-
tinued to pay for all the poultry he had, and never
would find time to make out her bill.
What happy mornings those were, when Bob called
and found Alice ready to go to the market- town with
him ! when he could help to carry the eggs, chickens,
basket of mushrooms, blackberries, sloes, and bullaces,
or, perhaps, some of the fruit out of her grandmother's
garden. It was pleasant to watch that boy and girl, as
they went together along the old footpaths through the
sweet green fields, to hear her say, "I'm sure you must
be tired now, Bob ; do let me carry my basket a little
way to rest you."
" Tired ! I'm no more tired than Bob," he would reply,
" and could run about after him with this little weight
on my arm the same as I do when I have only my books
to carry. You don't know how strong I am, Alice ;
why, I helped to stack the corn the other day, and
used the longest fork, and that you know reaches quite
as high as the top of the waggon when it's piled with
a heavy load. Father said I pitched the sheaves up
almost as well and as quick as our head man John. I
never feel tired when I'm with you ; and look how hard
you work to what I do."
Didn't Bob make excuses to get out of the school
and have a run into the market-place, to see how Alice
was getting on ! for the little maiden paid a penny for
her stool, or trestle, to rest her basket on, to the tollman,
the same as the rest of the market-women, and took her
stand amongst them, and showed herself quite a little
business body towards her Customers. Then as Bob
Always took his dinner with him to school, he brought
it out and ate it in the market-place, making Alice have
some, by either threatening to give it all to his dog, or
not to taste a mite himself unless she had some too
And by some kind of conjuring on the part of Bob's
mother, there was always some dainty or another added
to Bob's dinner when it was known that Alice was
attending market ; such as a delicious fruit pie, cheese-
cake, custard, and sometimes a pigeon pie, cold fowl and
some ham, for Mr. Ashcroft was a wealthy farmer, and
lived like a king.
" It's rare being you, my pretty lass," Peggy Dixon
would say, if she happened to have gone to market, and
to have come up when Alice and Bob were having their
dinners ; " I'm sure Mrs. Ashcroft is doing all she can
to spoil you both, and I'll tell her so the next time I clap
eyes on her. Well, if I must have a taste with you, why,
I must, I suppose, though I didn't come for that. Why,
Bob, your mother puts you up dinner enough to supply
a family, I never saw such a mother in my life as she is,
Mr. Ashcroft never failed calling on her, if he could
steal a few minutes from his business in the corn or
cattle market ; and Alice liked him to come to her with
his cheery voice, and long spurs and top boots ; and very
often, if she had sold out early, Bob coaxed his father
to go with him to the school, which was close by, to ask
for a half holiday, so that he might go look about the
market with Alice, and then go home with her.
One day the carrier brought two great butter maunds
and a basket of cream cheese, and set his load down
under the trestle on which Alice rested her little basket
of eggs. " Whatever have you brought those to me
for ?" said Alice to the carrier.
" To sell, my pretty lass," was the answer. "Mrs.
Ashcroft's head dairymaid was too ill to come with me'
as usual, so she said I was to leave the baskets with you,
and you were to do the best you could for her."
So Alice got him to lift one of the heavy maunds on
her trestle, nndid the clean white cloth, and displayed
the pounds of butter made up in the shape of Bath
buns, with beautiful scrolls of flowers, made by the butter
print, running down the middle and along the sides of
each pound, that were separated from one another by
fresh-gathered vine leaves. She then spread out her
cream cheese on a napkin, white as new-fallen snow,
each cheese resting on a stand of fresh leaves, and all so
fresh, and sweet, and beautiful that her little stall made
the mouths of the lookers-on water again. Mrs. Ashcroft
had also sent a small, silver-bladed knife, for the use of
the customers who tasted the butter. There was one
old woman who carried a pocketful of bread, and went
round tasting all the butter in the market, which she
spread on her bread first, and then never bought any.
Alice had heard of her doings, and handed her a very
small portion indeed on the point of her clean silver knife.
" There's no telling what the taste is with such a mite as
that," said the old woman, turning away in great wrath.
It was a custom for the mistresses of many of the
wealthiest families in the old-fashioned town to go out,
followed by a servant, who carried the purchases in
baskets, and buy what the family required for the week
on a market-day. All of them had noticed Alice, and
been customers at one time or another ; often ordering
both garden and wild fruit of her, to preserve, especially
in autumn, when the blackberries, sloes, and bullaces
were ripe. Her sweet face, genteel figure, neac, clean,
and homely dress attracted their attention, and they
never passed her without exchanging a few kind words,
even when she had nothing on her tiny stall that suited
them. The rich look and neat way her butter was made
" ALICE HAD HEARD OF HER DOINGS, AND HAWDBD HER A VERY SMALL PORTIOlf
INDEED OX THE POINT OF HER CLEAN SILVER KNIFE.'
at once attracted their attention, and she soon disposed
of it, to the great disappointment of one or two ladies
who had long been in the habit of purchasing Mrs.
Ashcroft's butter, and who came too late on that day.
But Alice, with ready tact, promised to bring them what
they wanted on the following morning, and when that
wouldn't do, Bob volunteered to set off at once for it,
for he knew mother had plenty more made up ; so both
old and new customers were satisfied; and in future
Alice sold all Mrs. Ashcroft's butter, and had a penny
allowed profit on every pound weight she disposed of.
The carrier had soon to bring double the quantity the
dairymaid used to sell, and many a cross old butter- wife
was compelled to sell her stock to the shops wholesale,
so many fresh customers did Alice and her sweet butter
attract. But there were few such rich-growing pastures
in the neighbourhood as Farmer Ashcroft's, and people
believed that it was through the quantity of cowslips that
grew in his fields, which caused his cows to yield such
delicious milk and butter. The various articles sold on
commission for Mrs. Ashcroft made a great addition to
Alice's earnings, and enabled her to procure her grand-
mother many additional comforts.
One evening, rather late for him to visit, Bob came
running in, his face red as fire, through speed, with an
"Oh, Alice! oh, grandmother!" he always called the
old woman grandmother because Alice did " I've been
with our John this afternoon to look after two young
heifers that had strayed, and we went as far as Ackford
Wilding. I never saw such a place in my life. There
are clouds of blackberries, nuts, and such big crab-trees,
and hundreds of sloe and bullace bushes. I never saw
such sights in my life. And mother says I may have a
holiday all toy to-morrow, and go with you, and show
you where it is, and help you to gather the blackberries,
such big ones, and so ripe. John says there are miles
and miles of bramble bushes in the Wilding. Will you
" I'm afraid It's too far for me to go, Bob," replied
the grandmother ; " it's a matter of four or five miles or
more ; I've heard of the place, though I never was there ;
and they do say it was never cultivated since the world
stood. But Alice may go, if she pleases her legs are
younger than mine."
" I may as well go there as to Maythorn Stumps,
and better," said Alice, " if the blackberries are so fine ;
for Dr. Powell called on me last market-day, and said
his good lady wanted two or three gallons to preserve, if
I could get them very fine indeed ; and his lady always
pays me a shilling a gallon for them ; and they do but
run smallish at Maythorn Stumps this year. It's a long
way for granny, but I'll go with you, Bob, and am
thankful to you for telling me where I can find such fine
ones for the doctor."
" I never saw such whackers in my life," said Bob ;
" they are big as mulberries."
Bob little dreamed that he had been to a place which
bore the same name as it did in the time of the Saxons
Ackford, or the Ford of Oaks and was famous for its
crab-trees beside, at that early period, which they called
Wildings, meaning wild apples. But the ford had now
dwindled to a narrow stream, though there were still
traces of the embankments between which the river had
flowed in ancient times, and the gnarled bolls of a few
aged oaks, which had ceased from growing long centuries
ago, excepting sending out, now and th^n, a few twigs
from their hoary heads, while out of some grew a wild
bush from their gray and weather-beaten summits, the
seeds of which had, no doubt, been dropped by the birds.
Alice had got all her work done next morning before
breakfast had blackleaded the grate, washed the hearth
and doorsteps, dusted every article in the room; the
floor was only washed once a week, for there was but
little dirt about grandmother's cottage ; she had also
made a nice rice-pudding, ready to put in the oven for
grandmother's dinner, with two of her own new-laid eggs
in it, from the nest of her speckled hen, the finest
" layer " she had got, and some cream out of a large
jugful Mrs. Ashcroft had sent the day before. As for
her own dinner, Bob had said she wasn't to put anything
at all up to take with her, as his mother would fill a little
basket, with plenty in it for them both.
Bob came before the breakfast things were cleared
away, basket in hand, with his head' thrust through the
handle of another large basket, that sat on him like a
wicker helmet that was to put the blackberries in. His
presence was announced, as usual, by the dog, which
came running into the cottage, then reared himself up
on his hind-legs, with his fore-feet resting on Alice, and
wagging his tail all the while she patted him, for that
was the way he always introduced himself ; though in
dirty weather she let him rest his fore-paws on her hands,
as they were sooner washed than her dress. If his young
master said, " Down, Bob, look how dirty your feet are,"
Alice would say, " Let him alone, Bob ; look how glad
he is to see me ; he would say so if he could speak, and
his feet are only on my dirty apron." Then she would
stoop down, and kiss his rough, hairy, honest forehead,
for Alice had a great love for all dumb animals.
Then Bob placed the basket on the table he had
carried carefully in both hands, and which was covered
with a snow-white cloth, and looking at grandmother,
said, " Please, mother has sent you a giblet-pie, for we
killed two of our geese yesterday; and as she knew
Alice would not be here to get dinner ready, she thought
it would save you the trouble of cooking any thing. And
mother said, if your oven happened to be hot, it would
be all the nicer if you popped it in for about half an hour
before you had your dinner. And I was to tell you to
be sure and boil a mealy potato or two to eat with it,
as the gravy's rather richish."
The grandmother poured forth her thanks, while
Alice put on her tight-fitting old pelisse and bonnet, and
in another minute they were on their way to the Wild-
ing, with Bob barking and bounding before them.
It was a wild landscape there are very few such
primitive spots remaining in England in the present
day. It neither resembled park nor forest, heath nor wood.
Whole acres of brambles and gorse-bushes, with patches
of heather, fern, and broom, and grassy spaces at times
between, formed a kind of border-land, that went in and
out in jutting and receding masses, the bosky back-
ground to the open waste over which they had already
>c.ssed. Through these entangled and winding open-
ings they threaded their way to the wilder and more
lilent solitudes beyond, where oaks, and crab-trees, and
aged thorns, and huge bushes were scattered here and
there, like landmarks above the rank growth of under-
wood, which formed an impassable barrier around many
of them, so tall had grown the prickly gorse, so closely
matted together were the hooked brambles. Then there
were clumps of sloe and bullace bushes growing a score
or two together, just as they had sown themselves or
sent out fresh shoots year after year j and many of these,
like the twisted and barkless thorns, were very aged.
They passed so many islands of blackberries for such
they might be called rising above the level and grassy
openings, that they were at a loss which to halt before,
as the farther they penetrated into the heart of the
savage scenery, the bigger they fancied appeared the
bramble-berries. At length they came to a broad belt
of trees, through which meandered a wild sort of path,
overhung every here and there with branches ; and
when they had threaded .their way through the en-
tangled maze, they came into another broad sunny
opening, wilder than the one they had left behind.
There was no resisting the blackberries that grew here ;
they hung on the brambles in myriads, some so black
and ripe that they fell off with the slightest touch, others
of a hard red, some green, and here and there a few of
the satin-like flowers were still in blossom, where they
were screened from the sun and rain, and hung low
among the grass and purple heath-bells. Then the fern,
oh! what a blaze of gorgeous colour it threw out!
orange and crimson, yellow and green, with great
patches of brown, that seemed to burn again in the
autumn sunshine, as it shot its golden light through
and over the broad acres of fan-like leaves. And every
here and there shot up above this sea of richly variegated
foliage some gnarled and knotted tree, on whose twisted
stem and branches hung long flakes of moss and lichen,
silver gray, and green, and golden ; while below, in many
places, grew large fungi, some of them as big as the
crown of a hat, and coloured as richly as the variegated
branches with which they were overhung. In other
places thick bushes and the spiked gorse, stunted thorns
and interlacing brambles, seemed to have struggled
against one another for years to obtain the mastery,
until at last, as if weary of the contest, they had twined
their hooked arms lovingly together, and formed a dense
underwood that was impenetrable to all excepting the
Bob fancied that there were larger blackberries in
those inaccessible thickets than in the open spaces, where
there was no difficulty in gathering them, and made
trwo or three attempts to obtain those beyond his reach,
tearing his hands and clothes, and very rarely succeed-
ing beyond a branch or two, which he dragged out with
much labour. "While Alice kept on quietly filling her
basket, Bob kept running hither and thither calling to
her to " Come on, as they were much finer where he
was ;" then, when she moved, helping her to get a hand-
ful or two, and away again with Bob at his heels, on
some new discovery, nor letting her have any rest until
she once more joined him.
They had penetrated above a mile into the very heart
of this primeval solitude, for neither scythe nor sickle,
priming-hook nor axe, had ever mown down a blade of
grass, cut an ear of corn, pruned a branch, nor felled a
tree in that uncultivated waste within the period of any
recorded time, to be found in charter or ancient book,
which only told of it as having been a hunting ground
in the days of the old Saxon kings. Above a mile had
they wandered, and filled more than one large basket with
blackberries, before they sat down to eat their dinner
beside a wild water-course.
What a paperful of ham-rind there was for Bob,
and how he wagged his tail while devouring it, then
ran to the brook and lapped as if he meant bursting
himself. Alice and her companion had slices of savoury
veal and ham, with snch stuffing as only Mrs. Ashcroft
knew how to make ; then there was an apple tart and a
bottle of beer for Bob, and one of rich new milk for
Alice, to say nothing of a cheese-cake, black on the top
with currants ; beside which he had filled his pockets
with ribston pippins, one of the finest-flavoured apples
ever grown in our green Old England.
Dinner over, they went on still farther into the Wild-
ing, looked at the crabs which hiing in thousands on the
old trees, golden in colour through very ripeness, and
crimson as peaches on the sides that caught the sun, but
making the teeth ache with their indescribable sourness
if tasted, although they looked so tempting. Had
grandmother been with them she would have moralized
on those false-looking crabs, so sweet to appearance out-
side and inwardly so sour like handsome faces beneath
which very bad tempers are sometimes concealed. There
were not so many nuts, only a few in sunny open places
where the ranker underwood had not closed up and
destroyed the hazels. As for sloes and bullaces, Bob
showed her where bushels might be gathered in the
course of a day ; but they wanted the frosty nights which
come at the close of autumn to ripen them, when they
would hang and purple the branches, with not a faded
leaf beside them, as all would then have fallen. So they
passed away the hours, having filled their baskets with
' blackberries, eaten all their provisions, and emptied the
bottles ; and now they noticed that the sun was fast
sinking, and that there was a noise of rooks among the
trees, a sure sign of the fast-coming autumn evening
when they return to the woods. The baskets were very
heavy. Bob insisted on carrying the two large ones,
giving Alice the little one which had contained their
provisions, and which was also full ; but they soon tired
him, and he was glad to rest.
"Are you sure we are going right, Bob?" asked
Alice, looking round somewhat alarmed as the shadows
of the trees began to deepen ; " I'm sure we didn't come
this way. We never passed any trees so tall and thick
"That must be the west," answered Bob, pointing to
the setting sun ; " and as the sun was at our backs when
we set out this morning, and is again behind us now,
we must be right, though we may not come out of the
waste exactly where we came in. Trust to me, Alice,
we shall be all right, never fear."
They went on, and on, and the baskets of black-
berries became heavier and heavier to carry, while every
clump of trees they came near grew darker and darker,
and even the noise of the rooks became less audible
only the caw of one or two being heard, as if they were
turning, half-asleep, to find a softer spot on the hard
Bob at last, in spite of his brave heart, became
alarmed ; and no sooner did Alice see this sign of fear
in his face than she burst out crying, and exclaimed
" Oh, Bob, we are lost ! whatever will dear grand-
mother do ? She'll be setting out to seek us, old as she
is, and catching her death of cold ; for she'll never rest
at home without me. And your mother oh dear ! oh
dear ! I wish we'd never come so far."
" Don't cry, dear Alice," said Bob, rubbing his dirty
knuckles in his eyes ; " we shall soon b? out into the
open waste, and then I can find my way easy enough.
Give me the big basket again ; I can carry two better
than one, as they balance more easily. Look how the
moon's rising over yonder trees ; it will be a deal lighter
than it is now when she is a little higher."
The dog had sat on his haunches, looking first at one
then the other, sometimes with his head aside, as if con-
sidering attentively all they said ; and no sooner did they
rise from their seats, and pursue the same direction they
had hitherto followed, than he commenced barking furi-
ously and running a contrary way. In vain did his young
master call to him ; though he came back, reared up
and licked his hand, he refused to follow, but stood
barking louder than ever.
" I am sure the dog 'knows we are going wrong,"
said Alice ; " let us turn back and follow him. I have
such faith in his sagacity, that I feel sure he will
lead us safe out of this wild place into the open waste,
if we do but let him have his own way and follow
"You are right, Alice," answered Bob, "though I
didn't think of it before. He has often gone on in that
way, when I have lost myself in the woods. Good dog !
good boy ! Home, Bob, home."
The dog set off at a gallop, was back again in a
moment, running round then, and jumping up as if try-
ing to lick the tears off Alice's soft cheeks, and seemed
almost ready to jump out of his skin with delight when
he found they were following him in the direction of
home. It was a long weary walk before they arrived at
the spot where they had eaten their dinner beside the
brook, and the dog began lapping as if he would never
leave off a gain, so hot and thirsty was he through running
and barking. Both A lice and Bob also said they had never
drank such sweet water before in their lives, for they were
both parched with thirst, having emptied their bottles
hours before, and there was not a drop of water in the
spots they had since wandered over.
" I feel quite strong again now," said Alice, " after
that sweet water. I do think in another hour, Bob, I
should have dropped down for want oi a drink. The
blackberries I kept putting in my mouth only seemed
to make me thirstier."
" I kept champing a new leather boot-lace I had in
my pocket," answered Bob ; " I should have offered you
a bit to keep your mouth moist, only I kept on hoping
we should soon come to water, and I didn't like to tell
you how ' dry ' I was."
" Isn't he a dear good dog ?" said Alice ; " look how
he keeps running backward and forward, as if to hurry
us on, and tell us how late it's getting. When we've
passed through that woody part, let us leave the black-
berries under the great oak, where we first rested, then
coine for them to-morrow, or it will be ever so late
before we get home with such a load."
They passed through the broad belt of trees above
which the large .full moon now shone, throwing a
chequered light on the winding path, which Bob seemed
to smell out for them, shortening his runs to and fro
as if afraid they might again go wrong, and then they
came into the open space, where there were patches of
grass winding and opening between the clumps of trees
and the wild underwood. The dog seemed to know that
all danger was passed, and now ran in circles round
them, leaping up, and ending with a long triumphant
bark. Bob would not leave the heavy baskets of black-
terries behind until they got clear out of Ackford Wild-
ing ; he then promised to put them in a shed of wattled
gorse-bushes, which he had noticed at a turning of the
road, when he came with John to look after the stray
heifers. The shed was nearly a mile off, still Bob toiled
on right manfully with his heavy load, though his feet
ached and his hands were blistered through the chafing
of the basket handles ; as for the inside of his arms, at
the bend of the elbow, they were raw through the
weight he had carried so far. It was no use Alice offer-
ing to help him now, the dear girl could hardly draw
one foot before the other ; and though the tears Kept
trickling down her cheeks through pain, weariness, and
hunger, yet she always replied to Bob in a cheerful tone
of voice whenever he spoke to her, and the shadow of her
bonnet prevented him from seeing her fast- falling tears.
At length they reached the outside of the Wilding,
and came upon the road which divided it from the waste,
and there they again sat down to rest. It was still four
long miles from home, and along a road but rarely tra-
versed, as there were only a few outlying farms near the
" Why, it will be nearly midnight before we get
home," said Alice ; " and oh what a way they will all be
in at our being so late."
" It will be rather latish," replied Bob ; " but remem-
ber the sun sets about six, and the moon hasn't been up
much above an hour, and I told mother as it was a long
way we shouldn't be home before dark. I know you are
very tired, Alice, and I am so sorry we lost our way.
But after two more rests we shall be at the gorse-shed I
told you off, and there I'll leave the baskets : then we
shall get on well enough. Won't the doctor's lady bo
pleased to get such fine blackberries ?"
While lie was speaking lie noticed the dog prick up
his ears, then saw him running a little way along the
road behind them, when he stopped and began to bark.
His sharp ears had detected the sound of a horse's hoofs
long before the tramp, tramp of the measured trot came
within their hearing. They soon saw the horseman
coming up in the moonlight, he also saw where they
were sitting, and drawing rein, came up at a walking
" What are you young people doing here so late as
this?" he asked, in anything but a pleasant tone of
voice. " It's time you were at home, I'm sure ; that is,
if you have got any home to go to."
"Oh, it's Mr. Fox," said Alice. "I'm so glad it's
you. We have been blackberrying, and lost our way
in the Wilding, and have got such a quantity, and are so
tired that we shan't be able to carry them home to-night. n
" Why, who ever thought of meeting with you, Alice,
so far from your grandmother, and so late as it's getting?"
he said, in a pleasanter manner. " And Bob's tired too,
I'll be bound. What a way you have come to gather a
parcel of rubbish. I should have thought you might
have found blackberries enough nearer home. My
hedges are covered with them. Well, I can't leave you
here ; as to the blackberries "
" I can leave them in the gorse-shed until morning,"
said Bob ; " that's what I was going to do before you
" They'll never be there in the morning, Bob,"
answered the farmer. " I saw some gipsies encamped
a little way down the road, and they hunt out every hole
and corner in the neighbourhood, where they think
there's anything to be found. They are too lazy
to even gather the blackberries, unless it be a few to eat
on the spot. Let's see what can be done. Come here,
Alice, now give a spring. There, yon are right enongh."
As he spoke he stooped from his saddle, and placing
one hand nnder the pit of Alice's arm, lifted her as easily
into his saddle, and seated her before him, as if she had
been a two-years-old child. Farmer Fox was a man of
great strength. Bob then handed np the two large
baskets of blackberries, one of which Alice rested on her
knee, and the other, of which he said he could carry on
His own arm.
" Now, Bob, lay hold of my leg, and climb up be-
hind me, then off we go ; mind the spur."
Bob was up in a moment, seated behind the farmer,
and Alice on the saddle pommel before him, and he
managed to hold both her and the basket with one arm,
while the horse set off again at his old familiar trot, as
if perfectly unconscious of any addition to his load, Bob
running and barking beside them in the dusty and moon-
When they had ridden about two miles they met a
light cart containing Farmer Ashcroft and two of his
men, on their way to Ackford Wilding, to look for Alice
and Bob, for as it grew darker the good farmer and his
wife began to be alarmed for the safety of the children,
and grandmother had already sent twice for Alice, and
they had promised her she should come home soon,
fearful to send word she had not yet returned.
Great was the delight of Farmer Ashcroft and his
men to meet the children, for they had set out, fully ex-
pecting a long and weary search in the Wilding before
they were found.
Farmer Fox made no reply to Mr. Ashcroft's profuse
thanks, beyond saying, " You may bundle Bob and the
baskets into the cart ; I shall keep Alice where she is
We shall be home before you, and I'll put her down at
your door." Saying which, he put his horse into a
canter, and found Alice asleep when he pulled up at
the great porch which made a shadow before Mr. Ash-
croft's farm-house door. The gentle motion of the
horse, and the soft resting-place she had found by lean-
ing all her weight on the great broad manly chest of
Farmer Fox, added to the fatigue she had undergone,
sent her to sleep within a minute after they started, and
as Mr. Fox said, when Mrs. Ashcroft lifted her down
and kissed her, " I do believe, if my old horse could
have kept on cantering until day dawned, and she had
never been wakened, she would have slept as soundly as
if she had been in bed, she seemed to lay so easy, and
she's as light as a feather."
At the pressing invitation of Mrs. Ashcroft, he
drank a glass of her home-brewed ale without dis-
mounting, and then rode up to the grandmother's,
knocking with the heavy handle of his whip on the
garden-gate, and saying when she came out, " Don't
be alarmed about Alice, they're only keeping her to
have a bit of supper. Mrs. Ashcroft said I was to
" I'm sure it's very kind of you to call, Mr. Fox, and
I'm extremely obliged to you." Then entering her
cottage, she said to herself, " If there wasn't a little of
something good in that man, he wouldn't have ridden
out of his way even to deliver a kind message from a
neighbour. Well, the worst word I ever said against
him was I never knew any harm of him, though he
doesn't look you straight in the face, which I suppose is
a way some people's got, and that they can no more
help it than some can help stuttering."
Seldom were grandmother's lily-white window-blinds
seen down so late as on the following morning ; but the
" early bird," as the good neighbours fondly called Alice,
was more tired than usual, and remained longer in her
warm little nest, and felt ashamed when she awoke to
see the sunshine lying golden on the garden walk, instead
of the gray light, which was hardly day, that she was
accustomed to see on first rising in the mornings of
autumn. As to Bob, he was so footsore, and his arms
so stiff and painful through carrying the heavy baskets
of blackberries, that a note was sent by a neighbour who
had business at the little market-town, to state that he
wouldn't attend school again for a day or two. Even
the dog didn't seem so eager to run out of doors as
usual on the following morning, but curled himself up
at his young master's feet, and had an extra nap while
he sat reading.
When grandmother told Peggy Dixon all about
Farmer Fox picking up the children by the roadside and
mounting them on his horse, together with their load
of blackberries, Peggy began to rub her hand to and fro
across her sharp old projecting chin a habit of hers
when she was puzzled and said, at last
" Well, neighbour, I can only account for it in one
way : he had had such a fright when he came up to the
gipsy encampment for he's been very hard on 'em, and
they have threatened what they would do when they
met him alone that in return for such a narrow escape
he felt bound to do some little good in some way or
another. But I'll no more think him kind-hearted for
that, than I'll believe old Scampton, the carpenter, will
ever turn out a downright sober man, as he vows he
will during his long fits of illness, brought on through
drunkenness, when he breaks out again worse than ever, as
soon as he's recovered. When he brings you his lease
to look at, I may perhaps try to think a little better oi
him, but not before."
" Well, I don't know what to say to it," replied
grandmother ; " he has a many queer ways of his own,
and f.o have other people, come to that. And I don't
think Mr. Ashcroft would be so friendly with him as he
is ii he didn't tind something good about him in some
way or another. I never heard that Mr. Fox wronged
or injured anybody in his life ; and one can't say that
of every one we know, Peggy."
Events happened, as they do in everybody's life,
important only to those who take a part in them, ifntil
Time who rolls the Past down his misty steep into the
Valley of Forgetfulness, where
" Memory, when she nfeimes that vale,
Speaketh quite low, and looketh pale ;"
brought round once more the eve of Alice's birthday,
when she would have attained her fifteenth year. Ever
since she was seven, her grandmother had made a little
feast on Alice's birthday, when there was plenty of tea
and plumcake, though the latter was often made from
the corn they had picked up, ear by ear, in the brown
and burning harvest-fields of Golden Autumn. Her
juvenile guests came in their holiday attire, and there
was as much rivalry among the little cottage maidens,
in their glass-bead necklaces and bits of gaudy ribbon,
as is displayed in the children of fashion at a Christmas
party. This year all was altered ; her birthday was to
be kept in Mr. Ashcroft's large old-fashioned farmhouse,
and Mrs. Ashcrofc had set about making such prepara-
tion as only a wealthy farmer's wife can make, who
has every luxury at her command, and has to pur-
chase nothing beyond a few trifling articles at the
The reason for this change w r as given in rather a
mysterious manner by Mr. Ashcroft, who only said to
" We shall have a visitor that you little expect meet-
ing, and one I am sure both yourself and Alice will bo
glad to see. My wife has invited all the young poopie
in the village, and we are going to throw the house cn f ,
of the windows, so that there may be plenty of room fur
them to have a dance. And she has sent this for Alice,"
and he laid down a parcel containing a beautiful new
silk dress, also one of Alice's old ones which Mrs. Ash-
croft had obtained by some excuse, to send to the dress-
maker's so as to get a fit, unknown to Alice.
The tea prepared needs no description ; there were
cakes that melted in the mouth ; as for the great hot
supper, there was a smell of roast goose and sucking
pig, fowls, a large ham, and you couldn't see what
beside, for the steam that filled the parlour as soon as
the covers were removed from the dishes. Peggy Dixon
helped to wait at the table, and she said, " It was like
one of the club-feast dinners given once a year at the
" Ram Inn," where there was everything in season, and
everything else beside, some with names she never heard
in her life before."
The dancing had commenced, and Alice was sitting
down resting herself beside her grandmother having
been led out by two or three partners both of them
looking anxiously every now and then towards the door,
and wondering who the visitor could be Mr. and Mrs.
Ashcroffc had spoken of, when the honest farmer jumped
up from his chair, exclaiming, " Here he is at last. I'm
right glad to see you, Mr. Fox, take a glass of my
missus's home-made wine," and as he spoke he shook
Farmer Fox heartily by the hand, who preferred a glass
of home-brewed ale as he said, " before all the wine in
He then drew a chair between Alice and her grand-
mother Hr. Ashcroffc and his wife also joining them,
and wishing Alice " many happy returns of the day,
and plenty of them," he finished his glass of ale, and
putting a paper in grandmother's hand, said, " You'll
find Bank of England notes here, grandmother, which
you'll take care of for pretty Alice, for four hundred and
twenty pounds, beside five cent, interest for seven years,
on the whole amount, which Mr. Ashcroft will show you
is all right to the very shilling. I had a lease of Alice's
father for seven years, for which I advanced him all the
money excepting the ten pound a year I have since paid :
it was also renewable for seven more years, if I liked,
at seventy pounds a year, which I paid before I had any
lease at all. That packet contains the last seven years*
rent, for I have had the farm that time since the first
lease expired. As Mr. Ashcroft was in some sort of way
Alice's guardian, he knew all about it, and approved of
what I have done ; for he thought if Alice was brought up
to know what it was to be poor, and had to work for her
living, it would be better for her in the end than if she
was trained up to idleness, and never taught to know the
value of money through the want of it ; I agreed with him.
And now I shall be very glad to renew the lease at an
advance of ten pounds a year, which will be eighty pounds,
to be paid quarterly, or half yearly, just as you may agree
amongst you. And now I wish you all a very good
And he arose from his chair, kissed Alice, and went
out without uttering another word.
"Well, I shall never take anybody by their looks
again," said Peggy Dixon, who had stood by all the time,
and heard every word that was said. " But I must say
it was very sly of you, Mr. Ashcroft, knowing ail about
it, to be laughing in your sleeve at me, when I was run-
ning him down because he wouldn't show his lease."
And so Peggy managed to divide the blame.
Alice hangs on Bob's arm now when they go out for
a walk or to church, and he wears his hat cocked on one
He has given her his dog, and on the collar there is
engraved "Bos TO ALICE."
"It's the dog's name," said Bob, "and they may
take it for somebody else's if they like."
It took Bob some time to make that puzzle as he
CHESHIRE CHEESE MAKIKG.
MY LONGEST WALK,
AN OLD MAN'S STORY.
BY MRS. RUSSELL GRAY.
I ONCE spent a summer in
Derbyshire ; it was an ar-
rangement made to fill up
the interregnum between my
leaving Eton and graduat-
ing at Oxford, and I have
always looked back to the time with pleasure. Two
other lads, of about my own age, shared with me the
instructions of the highly-talented and excellent tutor
with whom we were placed. His abode stood in a
retired village in one of the loveliest of valleys, through
which the Wye wound its course, amid quickly-changing
scenes of bold ruggedness and luxuriant woodlands.
MY LONGEST WALK.
We tad many a pleasant day's fishing, many a delight-
ful expedition to explore the numerous natural curiosities
of the neighbourhood the magnificent crags, the won-
drous masses of rocks, the ranges of shadowy pointed
eminences, the vast caves the Peak Cavern in par-
ticular, the most remarkable of them all, with its mighty
entrance arch of forty-two feet high and one hundred
and twenty feet wide, designed by no human architect,
but built by Nature's hand alone ; the lead-mine, another
attraction ; while the greatest lion of all was the Blue
John mine, whence the curiously beautiful spar called
Blue John is obtained. We descended into it by a
flight of uneven, winding steps, each carrying a piece
of lighted candle, every now and then coming upon
sharp turnings and jutting rocks covered with beautiful
white stalactites, and looking down into black yawning
chasms till we reached the bottom cave, an open, exten-
sive space, the inside of which, lined with purple sparry
incrustations, reflecting the lights of the candles, and
the crimson and blue fires by which the cavern was
illuminated by the guides, formed a most dazzling spec-
tacle, conjuring up to the imagination quite a scene of
Yes, I maintain that, with its fossils, spars, and
caverns, its wooded vales and wild features of scenery,
Derbyshire, on the whole, presents more variety and
interest than any other English county, and would even
rival Devon in beauty were it not for the azure sea that
washes the roseate cliffs of the southern shore, and \
forms tho principal charm of that fair region.
External circumstances certainly affect the inward
feelings. The beautiful view appearing between the
clumps of trees, beneath which, on bright balmy dajs, I
MY LONGEST WALK.
used to lie full length, basking, with my books beside
me, in the meadow in front of Ashfield Cottage, always
seemed to give an impetus to my ideas, and zest to any
particular study I was employed upon ; whilst, with so
many objects in view for walks, I was made to stretch
my legs, to exert my physical powers more than I had
ever done before, for I was naturally of a sedentary, or,
to speak plainly, an indolent disposition corporeally
indolent. As to my mind, I was apt rather to overwork
it. There was no merit in this, quite the contrary. It
was no sacrifice to me to let the sunny hours go by,
whilst I translated fine passages from Greek or Latin
authors, or evening steal into night whilst I worked
out a perplexing algebraical problem, for there was
fascination to me in these pursuits. It often required
much more resolution to throw aside my Homer or
Euclid, and allow myself to be dragged forth by my
more active-bodied, less erudite fellow- students to a
game of fives, or to assist in preparing the tackle for
the next fishing excursion.
Not that I despised active, manly sports ; on the
contrary, in my Eton days I felt greater admiration for
the best cricketer than for the first classic scholar, pro-
ficiency in the one point appearing to me so far more
unattainable than the other, and I would almost have
relinquished the honours of dux to have been hailed
Captain of the Eleven. Xo one now can be a greater
advocate than myself for the athletic sports which have
been introduced into many of our public schools ; for,
besides vigour of body naturally tending to strength
and activity of mind, the self-control, perseverance,
and endurance absolutely incumbent on those training
for the contest of the course or leaping-bar, are most
MY LONGEST WALK.
effective and salutary counteractions to the system of
self-indulgence, which is far too much the fashion of
the present day.
But I was telling you that one of my faults was
indolence; I must now plead guilty to a still more
powerfully- prevailing weakness shyness; and if any
of you, my readers, are troubled with symptoms of this
mental affliction, I entreat you to struggle bravely
against them. Far be it from me to recommend bold-
ness or presumption in young people, but, on the other
hand, it is most important that the opposite extreme
should be avoided, especially as in a measure it arises
from too much thought of self, a species of pride and
egotism which is condemnable, besides rendering its
possessor very disagreeable to others, and most uncom-
fortable in himself. Nothing can be more discouraging
than the manners of a very shy person. I verily believe
that noisy, volatile, and foolish as they often were,
Mr. Marshall found his other two pupils far more easy
and agreeable to deal with than myself, who never
gave him any trouble at studies ; for whereas, open and
free as day, they were continually consulting him, and
confiding to him all their trifling wants and wishes
and confidence ever begets sympathy my backward-
ness in speaking out, my constant shrinking as it were
into myself, often conveyed the idea of ungraciousness
or discontent little intended, but which annoyed my
good tutor, and entailed vexation on myself. So it was,
as you will hear, in the instance of my longest walk.
One morning the post brought Mr. Marshall a letter
which caused him some perplexity. Urgent business
required his presence in London for several days ; but
how could he leave his pupils or dispose of them in his
MY LONGEST WALfc.
absence ? West and Lacy, with their wonted readiness
nnd self-possession, immediately took upon themselves
to settle the matter as far as they were concerned.
Their homes were near one another, only about twenty
miles distant from Ashfield. Nothing could be easier
or pleasanter than that the coach, which so conveniently
passed Mr. Marshall's gates three days out of the week,
should take them up there the following morning, and
in due course of time drop them in their respective native
villages. Fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, all would
be overjoyed to see them; and, in fact, Mr. Marshall
knew this would be the best plan, and that he might
venture to despatch the lads with merely a note of ex-
planation, so it only remained to arrange for me.
Now, my home being in the far north county, and,
moreover, my family being on a short foreign tour at
the time, I could not be stowed away so conveniently ;
but anxious to relieve the worthy man from his dilemma,
perhaps not with the promptness of the other boys, or
in quite as clearly and courteously-worded sentences as
might have been, I intimated to him that he need not
trouble himself in the least about me, I could take very
good care of myself, and should like nothing better
than to left there quite alone !
Mr. Marshall, while unable to repress a smile at my
bluntness, thanked me cordially for my proposal, took a
little time to deliberate, then accepted my offer; and
certainly it much gratified me to mark the confidence
he placed in me, and to hear him say, when we hap-
pened to be left together, how impossible it would have
been for him to have trusted either Lacy or West in the
same way, but that he should feel perfectly comfortable
about me ; he only hoped I should not be dull.
MY LONGEST WALK.
Dull ! what waste of sympathy ! No fear on that
score. I was already revelling in the anticipation of
my solitude, and of accomplishing a scheme I had
thirsted for, namely, of spending a long summer's day
at Haddon Hall.
Mr. Marshall had often proposed an excursion to
that famed place, but somehow I had disliked the idea
of beholding it in company with West and Lacy, who
had no more romance in their natures, or a greater
taste for antiquities, than many of the hundreds of
sightseers who now flock by holiday trains to picnic
within the hallowed precincts of the old gray hall.
Their ignorant, senseless remarks, their speedy weari-
ness of what I knew would thrill my heart with rapture,
I could not have stood with patience : but to explore
the scene alone, to be able unmolested to trace out each
spot of famed historic lore, to have time to muse on the
celebrated personages of bygone days, who had trodden
the same classic ground so long ago, there was ecstasy
to me in the very idea.
And then the walk would be delightful, through
cool hazel woods, with deep dells and bubbling stream-
lets, through little quaint gray stone villages, winding
lanes, and verdant slopes and meadows. In fact, I con-
sidered this unexpected summons of Mr. Marshall's a
perfect boon, and longed for the next day, when I
should be left " monarch of all I surveyed."
I felt quite flattered by the thorough approval of
this arrangement expressed by Mrs. Jellicoe, the house-
keeper, a great authority in the establishment. I was
an immense favourite with the old lady. Such a civi -
spoken, quiet young gentleman had never before come
Into the house ; indeed, barring that one fault of occa-
MY LONGEST WALK.
sionally letting my candles, in my deep absorption over
a figure in algebra, gutter down with a sad waste into
the brightly-polished candlesticks, she had not a word
to say against me. So different from those harum-
scarum lads, Masters West and Lacy, who made no end
of work, scrambling head foremost up the staircase,
leaving large clots of mud on each step, and filling their
rooms with reptiles. (This was in reference to an unfortu-
nate lob- worm, which, having wriggled itself out of Lacy's
tin can, she once found curling itself into uncomfort-
able contortions on the floor of his dormitory.) And they
had been the cause of the housemaid narrowly escaping
a lock-jaw, a fly-hook having entered her knee while she
was in the act of performing some scrubbing evolutions.
Then, in the matter of clothes, after a gentle hint not
to dot down calculations in minute figures on my wrist-
bands, almost invisible at the time, but which came
forth plainly to view the following week in a cluster of
little yellow iron-moulds, I was a perfect pattern, hardly
ever requiring a stitch to be put in for me ; whereas
those tvild 'uus so she wratbfully designated my com-
panions let alone their crooked rents and tears, with-
out scruple would wrench off button after button, and
even sometimes cut slits in the button-holes, when they
did not perform their office quickly enough to suit their
Her eyes beamed with animation, and a benign
smile lit up her features, as, on being summoned into
Mr. Marshall's presence, he informed her of the in-
tended plans ; and I believe the next moment her com-
prehensive, energetic mind was sketching the whole
design, not only for turning Lacy and West's rooms
completely inside out, but for lavishing every kind of
MI LONGEST WALK.
indulgence on me, quite rejoicing in this opportunity of
testing her appreciation of my merits.
Alas ! vain indeed is the purpose of mortals ! Kind
Mrs. Jellicoe's intentions and gratifying attentions were
doomed to be frustrated, and though. I did behold
Haddon Hall the next day, it was not in the blessed
solitude I had fondly dreamt of.
MORNING came; Lacy and West at earliest daybreak
commenced sundry fidgety, noisy preparations for their
departure; and even when we imagined them fairly
started, West re-appeared, crimson and breathless, to
tear up-stairs to seize upon some pet fly he had for-
gotten. It was a relief to hear the coach whirl swiftly
round the turning of the lane carrying them off at last.
Mr. Marshall was to walk a mile to catch the London
coach in a different direction, his portmanteau having
already been sent on, and it only remained for him to
give a few final directions, and he would depart also.
In fact, he was on the point of bidding me adieu, when
carriage-wheels were heard grinding over the gravel up
to the front door ; and as we were wondering who such
early visitors could be, there were ushered into the
dining-room, Mr. and Mrs. Harrowby, old friends of my
family, but whom I had little expected to see in that
part of the world.
They, however, explained that they were on a tour,
that it was their intention to visit Chatsworth and
Ha'c&on Hall that day, sleep at Manchester, and proceed
the following morning en route for the Cumberland
MY LONGEST WALK.
lakes. On Mr. Marshall's acquainting them with the
state of affairs at the Cottage, Mr. Harrowby drew his
wife aside, conferred with her in an under tone for a
few moments, then came forward, and with the pleased
air of one imagining he is about to bestow a great
favour, invited me to join them on their expedition ;
and while I stood dumb with dismay at the bare idea of
such a thing, he had arranged the whole affair with
Mr. Marshall. In returning from the north they were
to pay a visit which would cause them to diverge some-
what from the regular route ; but that would only be
the more convenient for me, since I could accompany
them to E , through which place the Chester coach
passed, and from Chester I should be able to proceed
direct back into Derbyshire.
Now, it might have been difficult, without appearing
ungracious, to have immediately raised objections to
this hearty and kindly-meant offer in Mr. Harrowby's
presence ; but why, when wishing not to delay Mr.
Marshall's departure, he had gone with Mrs. Harrowby
to explore the village and its environs, and I was left
alone with my tutor, did I not confide in him, tell him
how much I should prefer remaining, as had been first
intended, at Ashfield ? He could easily have made ex-
cuses for me ; and when the good man casually remarked
that I should have to return part of the way on my own,
responsibility, but that he supposed I had sufficient
funds about me to meet the consequent expenses, why,
oh ! why was I silent, thereby allowing him to infer
that the purse then resting in my fob was heavy and
well lined, instead of containing merely a half-sovereign
and eighteenpence ?
I had no regular allowance ; my father was liberal in
MY LONGEST WALK.
the extreme, and placing perfect trust in my prudence
and moderation, sanctioned my drawing upon Mr. Mar-
shall for what sums I required. There were but few
temptations or opportunities for spending money in that
remote locality, and it was knowing this, coupled with
the circumstance of my having obtained from him a
remittance but a short time previously, which prompted
Mr. Marshall's observation regarding the supposed
favourable state of my finances. But besides having
lately invested rather a large sum in a birthday present
for one of my sisters, of Blue John spar ornaments, I
had allowed Lacy and West to get into the habit of
borrowing from me. They were restricted in their
allowance, and possessed an amazing facility in getting
rapidly rid of it ; and when they used to come to me
with the usual, " Do, Liddell, there's a good fellow, just
lend me half-a-crown till Monday, for I am regularly
done up," I used to think, what a very uncomfortable
sensation it must be, that of finding oneself without
money or the power of obtaining it, and I had not the
heart to refuse them.
But when the next Monday came and went, ay,
and many another Monday too, and these debts, instead
of being discharged, were only added to, was I not
highly blamable not to call them to account ? I believe
the lads to have been free from all dishonourable, dis-
honest intentions, but they presumed on my well-known
indolence, on my carelessness in the matter, and on
the conviction that I should rather lose the money than
ask them point blank to return it. Often, when I think
of the after life of one of these boys, the painful ques-
tion will arise to my mind, whether the first seeds of
bis wild, reckless course of extravagance might not pos-
MY LONGEST WALK.
sibly have been sown at Ashfield Cottage, and through
my instrumentality, my weakly shrinking from per-
forming my bounden duty towards him ? Ah ! there is
no self-reproach too great for one who has even un-
consciously and indirectly caused a weaker brother to
go out of the right way, for it is an offence which, how-
ever deeply deplored and repented of, can seldom if
ever be repaired.
But I might have obtained a further supply of
money, without in the least inculpating my friends, or
saying a syllable about the heavy bill which, the evening
before, to ease "West's mind and send him home free
from care, I had paid for him at the village shop ; then
what could have induced me to allow Mr. Marshall to
depart, and leave me with only eleven and sixpence to
carry me through all the chances and exigencies of
the ensuing week ? Nothing but my impenetrable re-
serve, my absurd sensitiveness regarding the bringing
forward of any subject relating solely to myself, my
individual feelings and wishes !
To this day I remember the sickening feeling which
came over me when, left alone, I thought of the con-
flict before me. Everything tended to make the idea
of this expedition distasteful. Mr. Harrowby was what
is called fond of drawing people out, of probing their
thoughts and opinions by searching questions rather a
formidable character to a shy person ; then his son
was of the party, whom I recollected as a precocious,
spoilt boy, with a peculiar knack of saying everything
most mal a propos, and thereby making people feel un-
comfortable ; and then the climax of all my pecuniary
Mrs. Jellicoe, I think, remarked my discomfiture,
MY LONGEST WALK.
ftnd she too looked a little vexed and disappointed, as
she packed up for me a very limited supply of clothes in
a small folding wallet, Mr. Harrowby having stipulated
that I should add as little as possible to their luggage.
Nothing could persuade her, however, to omit including
an evening shirt, with a cambric front and plaited
ruffles, an article of dress once in vogue, though quite
out of fashion, I believe, now-a-days, but which she
seemed to consider quite indispensable for the occasion.
Mr. Harrowby's carriage was a post-chariot, with a
rumble behind. I at least hoped to share the outside
place with the lady's-maid, where, out of sight of the
occupants of the interior, I might have been exempt
from conversing ; but even this boon was denied me,
Master Willie having appropriated that elevated posi-
tion to himself ; so I had to enact the part of " bodkin,' *
to sit, or pretend to be sitting, between Mr. and Mrs.
Harrowby, for the space afforded me was a mere
mockery of a seat, and in reality I supported myself by
resting my knees on a high, baize-covered desk at the
bottom of the carriage, at the imminent risk of being
pitched forward, with my face against the windows, at
every jolt or swing of the vehicle ; and I had to answer
question after question, while my thoughts were con-
stantly with the money, which was not merely burning
in my pocket, but searing into my very heart, against
which it rested. Under these circumstances it is not
to be supposed that I was able to carry on a very
animated conversation, and from some remarks Mr.
Harrowby made, sotto voce, it was evident he considered
that an over amount of study had depressed my spirits
and dulled my intellect, and that it was high time I
should have rest and relaxation.
MY LONGEST WALK.
Ifc was a relief to leave my confined quarters to ex-
plore the magnificence of Chatsworth, to have my
thoughts diverted for a time from its annoyances by the
various attractions of that princely place the sculpture
gallery, fine paintings, the library with its choice col-
lection of many generations, the gigantic conservatories,
the arboretum, the fountains ; but the grandeur of this
celebrated modern residence, much as it astonished and
pleasedme,was almost forgotten onmy beholding Haddon,
that unique specimen of a noble country home of the
olden times. With its Eagle Tower, which Willie and I
ascended, its bridge, ancient gateway, and wide court-
yard, its old chapel and hall, and the enchanting views
from its lofty parapets, its garden, and yew-shaded ter-
races, it even exceeded in beauty and romantic charm all 1
had pictured it to my imagination. With what thrilling
interest did I pace the long gallery ball-room, then pass
through it into the ante-chamber, out of the doors of
which, on the night of a grand ball, when the guests
were dancing, sweet Dorothy Vernon, the heiress of
Haddon, stole down the flight of now broken, moss-
grown steps, and eloped with her true love, Sir John
Manners, and thence became the ancestress of the illus-
trious house of Rutland. I should have liked to have
explored every corner and crevice, to have lingei-ed in
the gallery looking down into the banqueting-hall,
trying to imagine the scene it had once presented ; but,
besides our time being limited, Willie had been con-
fided to my guardianship, and I had to keep a constant
eye on him, lest he should get into mischief or danger.
But I found him much more tractable and accommo-
dating than I had expected ; school had done wonders
for him since we last had met, and he took to me so
MY LONGEST WALK.
warmly that, when we had to start acrain on our journey,
he insisted on my making a third in the rumble, which,
though still very close quarters, I infinitely preferred to
the inside of the carriage.
I think I won his heart by explaining to him
the different objects we saw ; by telling him stories of
Haduon, of the knights and ladies who once dwelt
there ; and as we stood together in the fine old kitchen,
I had pointed out to him the old time-worn bench, still
standing beside the huge fire-place, and had given him
the account of the wonderful feat once performed by
the running footman. Did you never hear it, Readers?
It was the custom in former times for every family
of consequence to keep youths, trained from their infancy
to swift walking or running, to carry letters and mes-
sages to distant places, and it was astonishing how
rapidly they sometimes accomplished their missions.
One of these lads kept at Haddon Hall was one evening
desired, by his master, to set off at daybreak to convey,
with all possible speed, a letter to Bolsover Castle, in
Nottinghamshire, and bring back the answer. The
youth, having perfectly understood the order, his master
was surprised and very angry when, the next morning,
on descending into the kitchen, he found the messenger
reclining on a wooden bench fast asleep. He began to
beat the poor lad with a sharp riding-whip, with each
lash showering abuse and reproaches on him ; and after
all it turned out, that when he had received the letter the
evening before, the youth had taken a few hours'
repose, then set out about midnight, and returned some
hours before noon, having performed the unprecedented
feat, of walking not much less than a hundred miles in
that short time.
MY LONGEST WALK.
Willie, who like most quick, forward children, had
abundance of imagination and a strong love of the mar-
vellous, was delighted with this anecdote ; and as we
drove along he continued to talk about it, and excited by
the subject, to give sundry evidently highly embroidered
accounts, of wonderful exploits he had himself achieved
in the walking line, till we reached Manchester; and
doubtless in consequence, all through that night I was
myself personating the running footman, and perform-
ing prodigies of activity such as never before were
" It was a dream, and yet not all a dream." " Com-
ing events" were " casting their shadows before."
THE next evening we arrived in the Lake district,
and the few succeeding days spent amidst its picturesque
scenery the delightful excursions by land and on
water the climbing of the majestic Skiddaw, dis-
tracted my thoughts from all disquietudes. Sir Bulwer
Lytton, in one of his novels, describes very graphically
the rapidity with which a sovereign melts away when
once it is changed into silver, how quickly the five
shilling pieces dwindle into half-crowns, the half-crowns
into shillings, and so on ; and if it be so with a whole,
the case is of course doubly applicable with regard to a
half-sovereign, and mine seemed peculiarly to possess
the property of evanescence.
But (he kindness and cordial manners of Mr. and
Mrs. Harrowby had by degrees set me so much at my
MY LONGEST \VALK.
ease, that I felt that it would not cost me a very great
effort to confide in them, and borrow the sum requisite
for my coach fare back to Ashford. But I put off doing
so till the last moment, when at the small roadside
posting-house of E , where we had had an early
dinner, and were about to part, I most unintentionally
and unluckily overheard a conversation between the
Mrs. Harrowby was praising me, saying that I
improved vastly on acquaintance, and had been the
greatest acquisition to their party, especially to Willie,
who did nothing but lament the coming separation ; and
then she consulted Mr. Harrowby as to whether they
should offer to pay for my journey home.
" Not for the world !" was Mr. Harrowby 's decided
reply. " If it were almost any other lad in the world
of the same age, I should insist on doing so, but it
would never answer in this instance. Neither he nor
his father would like it the Squire would, indeed, con-
sider it an affront one of those very proud old north
country families, you know ! And depend upon it," he
added, as if to satisfy his wife's mind, " the lad's purse is
Jieavier than ours"
If these concluding words silenced Mrs. Harrowby,
they completely tongue-tied me. The resolution I had
formed, vanished away like morning dew, and it was in
a kind of dizzy stupid bewilderment and with a languid
smile I bade adieu to my friends, endeavouring to
utter thanks and return Willie's frantic signals of fare-
\vell from the rumble, then saw the carriage move off,
leaving me standing on the door-step of the inn left
behind with literally only the paltry sum of two shillings
to cover the expenses of a long coach journey.
MY LONGEST WALK.
I stood for some minutes gazing ~acantly after the
departing vehicle, only by degrees awakening to a sense
of the necessity of rousing myself to action. Almost
involuntarily I drew my purse from my pocket, opened
it, and surveyed its contents. There was nothing new
to be seen there, only the two little silver coins, which
by no liocus pocus could I convert into golden pieces ;
and mathematically considered, to subtract therefrom
would be easy enough, to add thereto there was the
rub ! But I had brought myself into the scrape, and I
determined to face the difficulty manfully.
The coach which was to have picked me up would
soon be due at the inn, so to avoid humiliatingly encoun-
tering it under my abased circumstances, I strapped my
light wallet across my shoulders, and told the landlord I
would walk on. Yes, I thought, and so must I do even
to the end. In these railway times, by a Government
train, I might have managed the distance of sixteen
miles to Chester, and still had a fourpenny piece remain-
ing. Even that would not have helped me much ; but
as it was, my legs, I felt, must be my sole mode of con-
veyance from first to last, and my slender resources
be kept to provide for the inner man, if I would not
faint by the way.
It was certainly rather an uncomfortable predica-
ment in which to find myself suddenly placed, and it was
no consolation whatever to reflect that I had entirely
brought myself into it. Indeed, when I thought of my
folly, my weakness throughout, I could have gnashed
my teeth with irritation against myself; and when,
having plodded along the hard turnpike road for a mile
or so, I heard the coach approaching, with the cheerful
sound of the jingling harness, the reverberating tread
MY LONGEST WALF.
of the four liorses, fearing the coachman might stop to
offer to take me up, I turned aside into a field, and con-
cealed myself behind a hedge until it had passed, envy-
ing, as it flew by, its freight of happy-looking passengers.
But it was useless to waste time in fruitless regrets.
The September afternoon was already somewhat ad-
vanced, and, unknowing and unknown, it was desirable
to enter Chester by daylight. So I pressed steadily on,
only pausing to read the directions on the finger-posts,
and count the figures on the mile-stones.
I was within two miles of the town when I was
overtaken by a light cart, whose driver, doubtless struck
by my weary gait, stopped and offered me a lift, which
I gladly accepted. From him I gained much useful
information regarding my route for the next day. Evi-
dently taking me for one of the numerous pedestrian
travellers constantly met with in summer time returning
from North Wales, he described to me the various cross
roads and short cuts, by which certain distances might
be lessened. He also dropped me at a small inn in the
suburbs, where he said I might be accommodated for
the night at a reasonable rate. But this did not prove
a very satisfactory recommendation, for whatever might
have been the merits of my landlady, assuredly the
attribute of cleanliness could not be ranked amongst
them, and 1 arose from the state bed in her best chamber
rather the more exhausted than refreshed, in conse-
quence of several fierce encounters with a herd of vil-
lainous lodgers which I found already in possession of
the couch when I entered it. Then the bill, though no
doubt a mere song compared with the charges at first-
rate hotels, seemed to me considerable, taking into
account all the attendant circumstances, and, to my
consternation, exceeded the whole of my funds. I felt
staggered for a moment, but there is no such sharpener
of mother wit tis necessity, and a bright idea struck me.
In some of the Arabian Nights' tales, of which I used
to be so fond, I remembered having read of travellers
(who, however magnificent they were always repre-
sented to be at home, appeared generally on the occasions
of journeys to be as deficient in hard cash as myself), in
return for hospitality received from bounteous strangers,
taking from their fingers or breast some sparkling gem
of untold worth, and presenting it to their host. I had
no trinkets about me nothing of value, except my
watch and chain, my father's gift some years before}
I would have walked bare-footed from Chester to the
Land's End rather than have parted with them. I have
the watch now ; its springs are worn out, its ticking
has ceased, even as the pulses of the beloved donor have
long since been motionless, but I keep it still, garnered
up amongst my most cherished relics.
No ! I could not -offer "jewels rare " unto my " lady
fair," but I rushed up-stairs, unclasped my wallet, took
from it the shirt which Mrs. Jellicoe considered so valu-
able and so beautiful, carried it down to the parlour,
and bashfulness entirely giving way before the emer-
gency of the case gracefully proffered the garment in
lieu of base coin.
My hostess demurred at first, seeming even some,
what offended at the proposition, and regarded me with
looks of suspicious doubt and displeasure ; but when,
becoming impatient at her hesitation, I was about to
withdraw my proposal and take it back, she clutched it
with a tighter grasp, and said that though such a thing
was quite out of her usual way of doing business, still
she was willing to oblige, and so the affair was happily
arranged. I parted with what I did not value, and she
must have bee a well satisfied with her bargain, since
she presented me on my departure, gratis, with what
she called a "lunch," which though not choice in mate-
rial or tempting in its arrangement, I deemed it would
have been ungracious, if not unwise, to refuse.
MY LONGEST WALK.
NOTWITHSTANDING the exertion I was to undergo, I could
not resist lingering to lionize the eccentric old city of
Chester. The houses are so quaint and singular, with
their white plaster walls, divided with cross-beams of
painted black wood, some of them marked out in tri-
angles and octagons, like Chinese puzzles ; their high-
pointed roofs and fantastically-shaped windows with
small diamond panes, so very uncommon. Then, level
with their second floors, high above the ground, are
public footpaths along the principal streets, most of the
shops being entered from these curious covered galleries,
erected in olden times, when the town was invaded by
an enemy, to enable the inhabitants to throw down
stones and all kinds of missiles on the besiegers, whilst
they themselves were safely defended from the weapons
of their opponents. Chester, you know, was built by
the Romans as their capital, and is fortified with a very
strong stone wall, on the top of which is a walk leading
all round the city ; and though I knew the distance to
be two miles, I could not resist undertaking it, that I
might look down from that height, on the panoramic
view of the houses, castle, cathedral, and the bridge
with its grand wide arch, spanning the Dee, just in that
part of the river, on which King Edgar is said to have
arrived, in his barge rowed by seven kings. In fact,
instead of getting as far on my way as I could in the
coolest hours of the morning, the sun was almost in the
meridian when I quitted the town, having improvidently
wasted more strength and time than I could afford, in
MY LONGEST WALK.
My object was to reach a small market-town on the
borders of Derbyshire, through which I had often passed
in various journeys from the south, and from whence,
being well known to the coachman there, I could get on
to Ashfield without further trouble the next day, by the
Buxton coach, which went through our village.
I scarcely knew how long a walk I had before me,
but determined to follow as nearly as possible the direc-
tions of my guide of the previous day; and being endowed
with the organ of locality, did not apprehend going
much out of the proper coarse. I rejoiced at every
opportunity of turning off the dusty road into pleasant
shady lanes and fresh green meadows. I was travelling
in the land of cheeses, and though I did not find it
flowing with cream, like Baron Munchausen's cheese
island, the richness of the pastures and herds of beau-
tiful sleek cows feeding in them, frequently reminded
me where I was.
For a few hours I trudged valiantly on, getting well
over my ground, and rather enjoying the swiftly shifting
scenes ; but gradually my energy began to flag (you
know I told you I was never considered a very good
walker), each succeeding mile became more tedious and
toilsome, till at length I was obliged to throw myself
down on a bank to rest.
It was in a very quiet retired spot, beneath some
spreading trees in a hedgerow, and as I lay there a
feeling of loneliness and desertion stole over me. Soli-
tude which I had once so desired had lost its charm. I
was already longing for accustomed faces, familiar tones
and voices. It seemed to me also a somewhat comical as
well as an untoward fact, that I, the son of a man whose
name and character were alone a passport in many places,
MY LONGEST WALK.
should be thus on the tramp, wandering about like a
common vagrant. But who had I to blame for this but
myself? I felt I had no right to complain, and once
more determined to make the best of a bad matter.
Rousing myself with an effort, I sat up, and un-
buckling my travelling- case, opened it, and brought
forth the parting gift of my landlady ; but the sight of the
rancid cheese cut with a dirty knife, the scraps of fat
i .:eat hidden between bits of stale bread, and wrapped in
a piece of well-thumbed newspaper, took from me all
inclination to eat, though I had the prudence to return
the distasteful-looking packet to my wallet, instead of
chucking it over the hedge as I felt vastly inclined to
do. However, nature must be supported, so, having
i) used myself to continue my route, at the next village
1 arrived at, I entered a small rural inn, and in its sanded
>;ir-room obtained a rough but clean repast, which
Mough I grudged even the small sum it cost me,
mowed my strength for fresh exertions.
That afternoon ! how often has it come back to me
both, in my dreams and waking hours ; the scenes, the
><>ts through which I threaded my way, the faces and
/ures I caught sight of but for a moment, then lost to
view for ever ; shaking old men and women, sunning
e nisei ves at their cottage- doors, whistling labourers
I'lging along, rosy noisy children, with begrimed faces
and curly locks, playing merrily about ; the curious
loidoscope glimpses of fields, meadows, hills and
earns, trees and people, that flitted before me as I
!::ped on, myself as transient an apparition, neither
v<lirig nor speaking to any one. Yes, once I was
rtaken by a man more tired and footsore than myself,
poor discharged soldier, walking from Plymouth to a
MT LONGEST WALK.
village beyond York, to rejoin his family, whom he had
not beheld for twelve years. He was in bad health, and
only the thoughts of this longed-for reunion could have
enabled him to bear up against the fatigue he was
undergoing. We went a mile or two on our way
together, he beguiling the time by giving me accounts
of the engagements he had been in, in the Peninsular
War, under the great general Lord Wellington". : When
we parted at a cross road, he willingly accepted the
packet of " lunch " from my wallet, and the few pence 1
had taken in exchange for the shilling I had put down
at the village inn for my own refreshment. Gladly
would I have given him more. Poor fellow, I have often
wondered how he found his wife and children !
As I again went solitarily on, I frequently thought
of the running footman of Haddon Hall, and while
envying his amazing agility, it struck me that if I had
accustomed myself more to active pursuits, been in
MY LONGEST WALK.
better training for walking, I might have got on far more
comfortably. I was beginning to feel very weary and
impatient when the shades of evening gathered round
and found me still some miles from my appointed goal.
Oh for the seven-leagued boots Hop-o'-my-Thumb ab-
stracted from the Ogre's palace ! I would even have
accepted the spring leg of the flying German burgo-
master, trusting to have been able to manage its mecha-
nism more successfully than he did. Anything to have
sent me skimming over the remaining intervening space.
I tried every style of walking fast short steps, slow
long steps, swinging my arms, balancing my body, once
I even took off my shoes and stockings, Irish fashion ;
this last plan did not answer at all, and what relief
indeed could be afforded to a tired-out frame but rest,
which I could not then have? My spirits had been
hitherto principally upheld by the bright cheery weather,
and I had congratulated myself on the overcoat, which
had defended me from many a sharp shower at the
Lakes, having been accidentally carried off in Mr. Har-
rowby's carriage, thereby disembarrassing me from its
weight. But just after sunset the wind got up, lowering
clouds floated across the sky, and when darkness was
beginning to overspread the earth, there came a few
preliminary drops pattering on my upraised face, fol-
lowed by a hard pelting down-pour, which completely
drenched me before I could reach any place of shelter.
I was then indeed in a miserable plight, wet to the
skin, and my shoes filled with water. N"o wonder I felt
no heart to proceed farther, but determined to seek a
refuge for the night at the first decent cottage I should
come to. There was apparently, however, no village
near at hand, no human habitation of any kind, so OD
MY LONGEST WALK.
and on I was forced to go, shivering and dripping, and
was arriving at the comfortless conclusion that i must.
keep to my first intention of proceeding to D - before
I could hope for either rest or a dry skin, when sud-
denly a light glimmered on a height at some distance
I welcomed the sight of the little pale twinkling flame,
which seemed to have blazed forth on purpose to guide
me on my desolate way, and which if it did not prove to be
one of those castle palaces, in which benighted travellers,
in fairy tales, were wont to be received and feasted in
splendour, might at least bring me within cover of the
storm and tempest. Therefore, following its tiny spark, I
ascended the long hill on the top of which it gleamed,
and at length found myself approaching close to it, and
standing beside a white painted gate. I paused for a
moment, then passing through it amidst the loud bark*
ing of dogs, proceeded about a hundred yards further,
which brought me to a long low building with a pro-
jecting porch, on the door of which I knocked.
It was cautiously opened by some one, who, but im-
perfectly discerning me in the dim shadowy light, ex-
claimed in somewhat uncouth accents and true Cheshire
dialect, " Is it a lie or a who ?" and on my attempting
to state my circumstances, cut me short with, " Maybe
I'll go call missus."
I was then standing within the porch, beyond which
I could descry a stone passage, and facing where I stood
a door, which the servant girl opened, displaying for
a moment a room within. Presently she returned, carry-
ing a candle and accompanied by her " missus," whose
very appearance was siLoicieut to impart encouragement
MY LONGEST WALK.
SUCH a pleasant-looking face and comely deportment
had Mrs. Plumbtree, the wife of the Cheshire farmer,
to whose dwelling I had accidentally strayed, and to
whom I attempted to offer explanations concerning my
My account must have been rather a halting one,
for she scanned me very searchingly with her bright
black eyes, and when I paused, said in a serious tone,
" I hope it is the truth you are telling me, young
man, but it seems a queer thing for a lad like you to be
roving about the country so late instead of being safe at
woam* But," she continued, hospitality and kindness
almost immediately overcoming her doubts and scruples^
" no one in trouble has ever yet been turned from these
doors ; and you look terribly cold, and doubtless must
be wetcJiered^- ; so come in, lad, come in," and she threw
open again the door in the passage, admitting, me into
an atmosphere of light and warmth, and into a scene of
cheerfulness and comfort such as I cannot do justice to
by any description. It was a large farm-house kitchen,
into which I found myself suddenly transported from the
outer damp and darkness, but evidently never used for
cooking purposes. The range of pewter utensils on the
long oaken dresser shone like silver by the light of the
logs of wood, blazing and crackling in the wide open fire-
place. To the heavy oak beams traversing the ceiling,
hung hams and bacon in sufficient quantity, one would
have thought, to supply a whole generation ; while in
the centre of the room was a well-covered suppor table
* At borne Wet shod.
MY LONGEST WALfc.
at wliicli sat the portly farmer and a large party of
young people, most of them the sons and daughters of
the house, and as charming specimens of the rural class
as could possibly be seen the sons tall, strong, and
broad set, the girls with their mother's sparkling dark
eyes and glowing complexions, and all the very pictures
of good humour. There were also some visitor cousins,
but who did not take my fancy so much ; two demure
and somewhat affected damsels, and their brother, a very
town-bred looking youth, who evidently did not think
slightly of himself.
All glanced towards the door as Mrs. Plumbtree
ushered in her dripping, half-drowned companion, and
the farmer, I thought, did not look over-pleased at the
intrusion ; but his wife passed round to where he sat,
and bending down, whispered a few words in his ear
which seemed to satisfy him, for he nodded assentingly,
and motioned to me to approach the fire.
But it was impossible to gain any warmth whilst
remaining in such utterly soaked garments, and on Mrs.
Plumbtree learning that my wallet contained under-
clothing, she called a little chubby-faced boy out of the
group, and bid him take me up-stairs, that I might make
myself more comfortable.
It was indeed a relief to be disencumbered of the
saturated cloth garments, to drag my feet out of shoes
shrunken with moisture, to peel off the shirt that stuck
to my body like a skin ; and my little valet fetched me
from down-stairs a beaker of hot water with which I
performed most comfortable ablutions ; so that when I
returned to the kitchen, attired in an evening suit (the
only other one I had with me), so great was the altera-
tion in my appearance, that I heard smothered ex-
MY LONGEST WALK.
clamations of surprise, and felt convinced I was
raised considerably in the estimation of the three
cousins. Space was instantly made for me between the
two young town damsels, but I preferred seating myself
beside a little black-eyed maiden of about nine years
old, the youngest and pet child of the family, who
pressed my hand within her small plump sunburnt palm,
and invited me to eat.
Most of the party had finished their repast by this
time; the farmer was in a large arm-chair near the
hearth, the girls were assisting the maid to clear away,
whilst Mrs. Plumbtree was bustling about very actively.
She, however, paused in her occupation to help me
to the fare the table provided, saying, " You must
indeed be welly clemmed* so lose no time, for it is nigh
The principal dish is still a favourite one in the
north, I believe, and retains the name my hostess
then gave it, " Beans and Chance." In poor and
frugal houses it consists of a quantity of broad beans,
the older and tougher the better it would almost seem,
in which is smothered small lumps of bacon, the amount
of beans preponderating so vastly, that it is a great
" chance" when a bit of meat falls to the lot of the
person served. But at such a liberal, well-ordered
buard as Mrs. Plumbtree's there was no " chance" in
the matter, but the pleasant certainty of receiving with
each portion of fresh tender vegetables a substantial
slice of relishable broiled ham. Be assured I did ample
justice to the repast. And then I found that during my
absence up-stairs the perplexing subject as to how I was
to be accommodated for the night, had been anxiously
MY LONGEST WALK.
discussed ; the only spare bed- room being occupied by
the nieces, while the nephew shared the chamber of the
two eldest sons. The farmer had suggested that I
should repose by the fire in his capacious chair, in which
he could take the snuggest naps after a long day's
work ; but compassionate Mrs. Plumb tree had replied,
that young people could not so easily sleep in a sedentary
posture, they required to stretch their limbs full length
in order to obtain refreshment from slumber, and she
had hit upon another expedient. She had a clean little
chaff bed which she could lay down on the floor of the
cheese-room, on which she felt sure I could rest quite
comfortably, with a good thick winter blanket to cover
me. She was sorry she had nothing else to offer, but
perhaps that would be better than turning out again
that rainy night.
I gratefully accepted her proposal. All I wanted
was some place to lie down in. I cared not where
it was, and would infinitely prefer being alone ; and
after supping, such an uncontrollable drowsiness stole
over me, that I longed for the moment when I should be
conducted to my novel bed-chamber.
One by one the young people dropped off, and at
last Mrs. Plumbtree aroused her husband with a pood
shaking ; then approaching the clock, which in its solid
oaken case stood in a corner of the kitchen, most
deliberately advanced the minute hand. On observing
me comparing my watch with its time, she said, " I
always put on the clock half an hour when I want to be
cheated into earlier rising than usual, and have never
yet found the trick fail me. We must be all up by five
o'clock, and ready to welcome the minister's daughters,
who are coming to take a lesson in cheese-making."
MY LONGEST WALK.
I thought it strange that such a transparent act of
self-deception should answer its purpose so well, but
was too stupified by sleepiness, to be able to make any
remark either about the clock or the expected visitors,
and passively followed her from the room. We first
ascended by a wide handsome staircase with polished
carved oak balusters, till haying arrived on the upper
landing-place, Mrs. Plumbtree turned off into a narrow
passage, and led the way up a steep spiral flight, im-
mediately at the top of which was a door, which she
threw open, introducing me into my dormitory a long
room in the roof, with low rafters, the floor of which,
excepting just at one end, was covered with goodly sam-
ples of the chief productions of the country. At the other
extremity was my " shake-down," on which, after Mrs.
Plumb tree's departure, I immediately threw myself down,
having merely removed my outer garments. The flicker-
ing flame of the bit of rushlight, by which my hostess
had lighted me up-stairs, produced a curious effect glim-
mering feebly upon my quaint chamber and its contents
and falling asleep while endeavouring to count the rows
of circling cheeses, and mentally bisecting them, no
wonder that afterwards in my dreams, I was trying to
perform a difficult calculation, I fancied to have found
in Colenso, relative to the number of mites computed to
be bred in a certain time, in so many Cheshire cheeses of
various sizes and ages, or that when I suddenly started
up, disturbed by the fizzing, spluttering noise of the
expiring rushlight, and saw the full moon gleaming
through a little hoop-hole of a window upon them, I
exclaimed in the words of the poet, " Round as a Cheshire
But excepting a slight smell of curds, I had nothing
MY LONGEST WALK.
to complain of in my quarters. My couch was easy, and
the scrupulous cleanliness both of it and the boards on
which it rested, was luxury to me after my lodging of
the night before. After the rushlight went out, I mast
have slept long and soundly, for when next I awoke,
sunbeams were peeping into the chamber, and various
signs and sounds were telling that all nature was awake,
again, and rejoicing in the brightness of the morning.
I HAD arisen, and was peering through the small
diamond panes of the small window, when merry voices
and ringing laughter greeted my ears, and presently I
beheld approaching the house, two young ladies of about
the same height, apparently thirteen or fourteen years
old, very simply dressed, both alike, and with light hair,
arranged in that prettiest of all fashions, not the wrinkly
crinkly manes of the present day, but long glossy ring-
lets floating negligently over their necks and shoulders,
beneath broad straw hats and blue ribbons. A staid
middle-aged person accompanied them.
These, then, must be the visitors Mrs. Plumbtree
had mentioned, and finding from my watch that it was
just six, I knew that if the faithful clock had not at last
played her false, my hostess and her family must already
have been " a-gate"* a full hour and a half, and that I
must make haste if I, too, wished to be initiated in the
mysteries of cheese-making. Some one, probably my
little valet, must have already been in my room, for the
* Busy at work.
MY LONGEST WALK.
clothes I had arrived in the clay before, were lying on
the foot of my bed, dried, and looking as well as could
be expected after what they had undergone.
It is generally observed that there is an epoch in the
life of almost every boy, when neatness and propriety of
dress and person are but slightingly regarded, when
brushes and even soap are at a discount, and rough
heads and dog-eared shirt collars are the order of the
day ; but, take comfort, ye parents and friends ; in due
season, as the grub changes into the butterfly, so the
time comes, when mighty metamorphosis ! the same
boy takes such pride in his personal appearance, such an
exquisite particularity comes over " the spirit of his
dream," that he devotes more time in one morning to
his toilette, than he has formerly done to it in a whole
week, comes down to breakfast redolent with scented
soap and perfumed oils, and worries himself for the
whole morning, if the set of his tie is wrong, or a lock
of hair refuses to lie in proper form on his forehead.
And this new phase continues, until tempered and modi-
fied by a further increase of sense and discretion.
I need not say that I was in the latter transition
state, and you can therefore imagine my perplexity and
vexation, when I discovered that my room contained no
kind of furniture whatever, except the temporary bed-
ding and the cheeses ; not a chair, a looking-glass, or a
washing-stand. It truly was the greatest punishment
my folly had brought upon me, having to appear before
those pretty little ladies as I was compelled to do ; there
was no help for it, and not liking to miss the cheese-
making lesson, I at length descended the steep staircase
which I found continued down to the bottom of the
house, and at the base of which were the back premises,
MY LONGEST WALK.
in which I opportunely spied a convenient pump, at
which I thoroughly washed my hands and face, to my
great refreshment, but to the utter sacrifice of all the
remaining starch in my shirt collar.
I found Mrs. Plumbtree, with her daughters and
guests, assembled in a large back kitchen nearly sur-
rounded by cheese presses made of huge blocks of stone.
She was half jokingly scolding her visitors for being,
what she called, so late in arriving.
"It does not so much matter now," she argued;
" but these hours would never do in May or June, when
I have the milk of six-and-thirty cows standing waiting ;
as it is, there is no time to lose."
Meanwhile, the young ladies having tucked up their
sleeves to the elbows, were engaged in putting on
wide, coarse checked aprons, belonging to the farmer's
daughters, which, covering them from their chins to
their feet, provoked the same merry laughter at each
other's appearance which I had heard before, but which
was instantly checked by their governess, who saw that
Mrs. Plumbtree considered it no time for laughter, and
was hastening to set every one to work, to cut up the
curd, which stood ready in an enormous tub, the rennet
or whey having been already added to it.
This was first done with a gigantic-looking knife,
but presently Mrs. Plumbtree asked for the " dairy-
maid," when, instead of the servant girl appearing, as I
had expected, an instrument bearing that name was
handed to her, with which she broke the curd into
smaller pieces, thereby dividing it from the whey, which
last was ladled out of the tub with bowls. Next the
card was cut into the shape of bricks, taken out of the
tub, and placed in a wooden trough ; then the curd,
MY LONGEST WALK.
now separated from the whey, was still further broken,
mixed with salt, and weights were placed on it; and
having been once more broken and salted, and the
colouring added, it was taken out of the trough, put in
a cloth, then into a vat, and behold the grand work
was accomplished the Cheshire cheese was made.
Before placing it finally under a heavy press, one of
the young visitors made an impression on its ductile
surface with a penny, to distinguish it from all other
cheeses, and obtained Mrs. Plumbtree's promise that when
it was fit for eating, a good large slice from it should
be sent to the Rectory. It was to remain under the
press for four days, and then be carried up-stairs, and
placed on the floor of the cheese-loft, with my com-
panions of the night before ; and every day either the
farmer's wife or her daughters would have to ascend
the spiral staircase to turn it over with the rest no
slight effort of strength, I can tell you.
I stood watching the process, thinking what a
pleasant scene was afforded by the cheerful, pretty
young dairymaids, so intent on their occupation, and
by my hostess, who presided over them with the digni-
fied authority of a queen bee directing her busy hive.
Their labour over, a plate of brown bread and butter
was handed round, and on the sisters remarking on the
richness of the butter, Mrs. Plumbtree jocosely accused
her eldest daughter of having slily robbed the cheese-
tub, their butter being usually intended to be made
only of the whey, all the cream being reserved for
"But you must know," she said, "that Dolly is
going soon to be married, and she, as my head dairy-
maid, gets half the butter-money of this season to buy
MY LONGEST WALK.
lier fine wedding togery ; so, of course, the cunning
wench manages to turn it out as good as it well
Dolly took the impeachment in perfectly good part,
smiling and blushing, and then explained to the guests
that the copper at one end of the kitchen was the
vessel in which the whey was boiled, and that when
it was scalding hot, sour butter-milk was poured in
upon it, which caused the " fleetings" as she called
the scum to rise to the top ; adding that the children
and farm servants had it for their supper, and found it
very good. She fetched some of it for the visitors to
taste ; but it was evident from their countenances, as
they cautiously tried a small portion, that they found it
far less palatable than Dolly's excellent butter.
The clergyman's daughters did not observe my pre-
sence till just when they were about to quit the kitchen ;
then seeing I was a stranger, one of them turned to
Mrs. Plumbtree, and with apparent curiosity inquired,
in low-toned accents, who I was. It pained me to per-
ceive, by my hostess's grave shake of her bead when
she answered them, that, in spite of her hospitality and
kindness, she still regarded me somewhat doubtingly.
Nevertheless, whatever she may have said, when they
passed by me the little girls honoured me with the same
polite, modest curtsey they had accorded to her, which
quite soothed my ruffled feelings ; such a potent charm
is there in civility, which truly, as the old adage says,
"costs nothing, and buys everything."
How I wish that curtseys were not gone out of
fashion, that that graceful compliment, which was once
an universal custom, was not now reserved only fcr
queens; princes, and princesses!
MY LONGEST WALK.
I WAS standing outside tlie porch on the gi-ass plat,
which, having been newly mowed, gave forth a pleasant
fragrance, when I was summoned by little Maggie
to breakfast, and went hand in hand with my small
conductress into the front kitchen. My shy disposition
was then rather severely tried, the large party gathered
round the table, appearing far more formidable in broac?
daylight, than it had done by the subdued candlelight
the evening before ; and I could not help fancying all
the time, that the eyes of the town cousins were fixed
on my drooping cravat and altogether badly " got up"
appearance. I was thankful to be at last released from
this thraldom, and to accompany the little boy, who
had offered to show me about the place before my
Maggie also insisted on being of the party ; and
following my young guides, I soon entered upon the
animated scene presented by the amply-filled farmyard.
Such a chorus of noises greeted us the cackling of
geese, gobbling of turkeys, crowing of cocks, barking of
dogs, lowing of cows, and grunting of pigs such a
crowd of feathered creatures rushed to meet and welcome
us. Maggie was quite in her element then, with pride
and delight showing off all the wonders of the place ;
and after stroking the broad-backed cows, launching
a brood of yellow goslings on a little green pool,
and squeezing herself into sundry inconceivably small
holes and crannies in quest of eggs all for ray edifi-
cation she ended by climbing over a low wall, and
returning with a squeaking sucking-pig in her arms,
MY LONGEST WALK.
much to her brother Jack's shame and displeasure,
who remarked, " Maggie, you shall go home if you are
so lungeous;"* but Maggie only pressed the struggling,
kicking, scratching little animal more fondly to her
bosom, exclaiming, " Whist ye, my beauty !"
I was next taken into the well-stocked kitchen
garden, redolent of sweet marjoram and thyme, and
from its centre turfed walk, bordered with beds of the
gayest autumn flowers, hollyhocks, sunflowers, China-
asters, and .Michaelmas-daisies, I took a survey of the
exterior of the farm-house. It was a long, rambling
building, standing on the topmost ridge of a gradually-
rising eminence, overlooking a rich valley, and com-
manding a lovely and extensive view, evidently an
erection of ancient date ; its irregular additions, its
gable ends and substantial red-brick coping in short,
the whole style of the habitation, as well as the fine
pollard oaks near it, and the plainly marked out
bowling-green, used by Mrs. Plumbtree for a drying-
ground, denoting that it had formerly been a mansion
of importance ; and, in fact, Jack told me it went by
the name of the Legh Farm, and pointed out the crest
of that old Cheshire family on the entrance porch, and
the letter "L" above it, formed by a band of iron, in-
serted in the wall.
Jack next drew my attention to a little copse beyond
the garden, giving me a lively account of the wonder-
fully successful " "brids'-nasing" by which term I dis-
covered that he meant " birds'-nesting" he had had
there the last spring ; and when I ventured an opinion
as to that pursuit being rather a barbarous one, his eyes
twinkled vengefully as he spoke of the havoc the
LITTLE MAGOIE'S PET.
MY LONGEST WALK.
"Irids^ had made amongst his mother's favourite white-
heart cherries the preceding summer, and expressed his
thorough satisfaction at the idea of the thievish chaf-
finches and tomtits being pretty well " toiped off"* this
But time was speeding on, and, much as I should have
liked it, I could not linger any longer with my newly-
made friends, so I re-entered the house and ascended to
my bed-chamber to fetch my wallet. It was with ad-
ditional interest I then inspected the loft and its con-
tents ; bright sun rays were streaming into it, quite
gilding some of the circumfering cheeses, and already
giving them the rich mellow look they, were expected to
attain when they should arrive at due maturity.
When I went down- stairs to bid adieu to the family,
the farmer and his elder sons had gone about their daily
avocations, the daughters were engaged in various
household employments, the cousins seated, with the
luxurious ease and indulgence of visitors, at their tam-
bour frames in the bow window of the parlour;
but I found Mrs. Plumbtree in her clean, cool larder
putting in paper some newly-cut ham sandwiches and a
small home-made cake. She accompanied me into the
porch, and as she took leave of me, presenting me with
the packet truly a contrast to my luncheon of the day
before she added a few words of earnest exhortation,
that I would go straight back to my friends, and not
vex them again by straying from home.
It quite grieved me to leave this kind-hearted woman
with such an unfavourable impression of my proceedings,
but how could I explain to her the really ridiculous
cause of all my difficulties ? I could only cordially thank
* Killed or dead.
MY LONGEST WALK.
Her, promising to follow her advice ; and accepting the
offer of her little son to show me my way across the
fields into the high road, I soon lost sight of that pleasant
rural home, which has often come back to my remem-
brance with a refreshing influence in very different scenes,
far away from dear old England. I knew it would have
been an insult, as well as a mere mockery, to have offered
a paltry shilling by way of any remuneration for my so
freely-given lodging ; but my young companion men-
tioning, as we were passing through the fields, what a
capital place it was on that high ground for kite flying,
and that a new kite was just then the greatest object of
his wishes, I placed my last remaining coin in his hand,
and when I parted from him, his eyes were sparkling
with delight, his face radiant with gratitude.
I reached D , sought out the coachman I liave
before mentioned, who perfectly remembered me, said
what excellent customers my family had been to nim for
many generations past, that he should feel proud to drive
the present Squire Liddell's son, and accordingly at the
appointed hour, I mounted the box-seat of the "High-
flyer," and in due course of time was set down in
the quiet shady lane beside the gate of Ashfield Cot-
tage. On my telling my Jehu that I would meet
him at that spot at the same hour on the next
day but one, and pay him then, as he touched his
hat in respectful acquiescence, I was again humbled by
seeing him give a knowing wink at the guard, and hear-
ing him mutter, " Hallo, Jem, I smells a rat there ; the
young gem'man has been out on a bit of a lark ; but he
may trust to me I'll keep it all snug and tight, and be
sure you does the same."
As I walked up the approach, all around the cottage
MY LONGEST WALK.
looked so exactly as it had. done on the morning I had
left it, that I could scarcely fancy I had been eight days
absent from it, had beheld so many new scenes, and
undergone so much in mind and body.
Mrs. Jellicoe met me at the door, informed me that
Mr. Marshall, West, and Lacy, would not be at home
till the morrow, remarked that I looked " wearied," and
discovering at a glance that my clothes had had a soak-
ing, insisted that I must have caught cold ; and after
giving me a sumptuous repast, ordered me a warm bath
before going to bed, which was by no means unaccept-
able ; and if ever I was ready to extol the excellent
appointments of my good tutor's house, it was when I
found myself comfortably tucked in for the night in my
snug little room.
Mr. Marshall and the boys returned the following
afternoon ; the day after, I drew upon my tutor for a
remittance, and felt quite a tide of enthusiastic loyalty
rush into my heart as I gazed at the short, round, profiled
face of good King George, with his neatly-tied pigtail,
depicted on the bright golden coins handed over to me.
My coach fare was duly paid, with a liberal gratuity to
both coachman and guard, and as I kept the particulars
of " my longest walk' ' a close secret, there was nothing
to remind me of it, but dear, tiresome Mrs. Jellicoe, who
would on every opportunity call me to account for my
missing " dress shirt," as she called it.
At first I allowed her to suppose that it had been
carried away in company with my great-coat, in Mr.
Harrowby's carriage ; but when the coat was sent back
without the garment of fine linen, she gave me no peace,
till at length one day in desperation,! said very solemnly,
" Mrs. Jellicoe, you must make up your mind never to
MY LONGEST WALK.
behold it again ; you, and I, and that shir* have pai'tc-.'l
company for ever."
And then I ran away laughing, whilst she stood
shaking her head reproachfully, uttering the usual bur-
den of her complaint, " Such lovely cambric frilling !
dearie me, to think of the new half-dozen being broken
into already !" and this time she sighed and added to
her lament " After all, I fear you are no better than the
rest of 'em."
MY college career, I may say, was a successful one, and
at the Commemoration, held with more than ordinary
splendour in the year eighteen hundred and , the
prize for the English poem was awarded to me. The
Sheldonian theatre was crowded from top to bottom,
the area or pit with the graduates, while on a stage in
the middle of the building, were the Chancellor, the proc-
tors, the noblemen, and the most distinguished visitors,
all in their gorgeous full dresses of state. I had mounted
the rostrum, and was only waiting for the noisy burst of
applause with which I was greeted, to cease, to recite my
verses, when I accidentally glanced at the ladies' gal-
lery, filled to overflowing with gay dresses and bonnets,
and from amidst the sea of faces, my eyes immediately
singled out two very fair ones, those of some girls,
evidently sisters, seated beside a clerical-looking gentle-
man, and who in spite of time and place, and the differ-
ence of attire, I at once recognized as the ci-devant little
cheese-makers Mrs. Plumbtree's visitors.
Yes ! I knew them directly, but I am afraid they had
not tne slightest recollection of me never for a moment
MY LONGEST WALK.
dreamt of the triumphant orator, the honoured hero of
that hour, who stood before them so prominently in the
beantiful Oxford theatre, being the same as the poor,
depressed, shabby-looking lad, they had, in the bene-
volence of their hearts, so courteously noticed on leaving
the kitchen of the Legh Farm-house. I saw them quit
the gallery amidst the throng, then lost sight of them
for aye ! It was but one of those strange chance meet-
ings which sometimes happen on this world's stage.
Many years have passed away since the occurrences
I have related to you years spent by me, for the most
part, in sultry Eastern climes, in which a whiff from an
English hay-field, or a sprig plucked from the village
May hawthorn, would be deemed ten thousandtimes more
precious, than every Asiatic spice, or the most splendid,
stately tropical plant, and where that pleasant scene, a
farm, with all its genuine British associations, must be
numbered amongst lost enjoyments. My kind, hospitable
Mrs.Plumbtree and her husband, must be resting beneath
the sod in the little church-yard with the long grass,
hard by their once busy home ; their blooming daughters,
if living, are now old women with wrinkled brows and
faded faces ; the bright jet eyes of Jack and Maggie
must be dimmed by time and care, which more or less
comes to all ; while the pretty young ladies from tho
Rectory are perhaps grandmothers, their beautiful shining
hair as liberally streaked with grey as my own; still I
have always retained a vivid recollection of my night in
the cheese-room of the Legh Farm.
And it is only right that so it should be. Time flies !
fugit irrevocabile tempus ! as I used to write it at Ashfield
Cottage ; but though time, and change of scene, and the
force of circumstances, may obliterate manv event?, the
MY LONGEST WALK.
remembrance of kindnesses should live freshly in the
heart for ever, and I have never forgotten the timely
shelter given me in my need, on that rainy, far off, by-
gone September evening.
And now, as every tale, however simple, should
" point a moral," I hope, Readers, you may have gleaned
from the story of " My Longest Walk" how much
trouble and annoyance a person may bring upon himself,
by not speaking out boldly and decidedly at the proper
time, and in the proper place; and that resolution and
moral courage are not alone to be reserved for great
achievements and heroic deeds, but must be put into
practice even in the minor transactions of every-day life,
BY FRANCES BROWNE.
IN one of the quietest and
most respectable outskirts
of Hackney, where the ends of streets stretch out into the
country, and one gets out of London noise and smoke,
there stood in my youth a pretty cottage, with a small
garden in front and a larger one in the rear, a grape-
vine trained along its walls and almost up to its
chimneys, a large sycamore tree sheltering it from the
north-east winds, and green fields beyond its garden,
from which it was called Meadow Cottage. The family
who lived there were called the Foresters. There was a
father, three boys, an honest, kindly old woman who
did all the housekeeping, but no mother, for she had
died four years before the time of my story, when her
youngest boy was a baby. The Foresters were not rich,
THE YOUXG FORESTERS.
but very comfortable. The father was manager in the
warehouse of a wealthy firm of fur importers in the
neighbourhood of the London Docks, and had a respect-
able income. His three boys, Joseph, Henry, and Her-
bert, were getting their education, the two eldest at
Doctor Ashford's school, one of the best in the neigh-
bourhood, and the youngest at Miss Green's seminary,
for little girls and boys under seven. His housekeeper,
commonly called Old Catherine, had come with him and
his wife to Meadow Cottage, and continued in the ser-
vice ever since. Nobody could exactly say how old she
was ; Catherine kept that a solemn secret, and was yet
a stranger to all her neighbours. Her face, though
brown and wrinkled, had a good-tempered, honest look ;
her tall figure, though stooping with years, was yet
strong and active. The cloth cap trimmed with fur,
and allowing no hair to be seen, and the numerous
petticoats, all of bright colours, and one shorter than the
other, which were her constant attire, made Catherine
rather a curiosity to the people about. She had been
born in Archangel, her father was an English sailor, her
mother a Russian peasant, and Catherine had lived till
middle age in her native northern town, being for many
years a housekeeper in the English factory there, till
she came over with one of its managers to hold the
same office in his fur warehouse, which happened to be
the very one where Mr. Foreater was employed. Thus
they got acquainted, and the old woman getting tired
of keeping the great warehouse, which was left so
lonely and locked up at night, took service with him
when he got married, and continued to be his house-
keeper when Mrs. Forester was gone. A faithful house-
keeper Catherine was, and rather like a relative to the
THE YOUNG FORESTERS.
family with whom she had lived so long. Sincerely
attached to Mr. Forester, in whom she had found a kind
and considerate master, and still more attached to his
boys, who had grown up under her care, and seemed
like her own children.
The young Foresters were good boys, though they
had lost their mother so early. Their names were
Joseph, Henry, and Herbert. There were four years
between each of their ages, for two little sisters had
gone to the churchyard before their mother ; so Joseph
was almost thirteen, Henry was almost nine, and Her-
bert little Herby, as they called him was almost five
at the time of my story. They were all handsome,
brown-haired boys, with fair open faces, strong frames,
and active feet. It was their father's comfort that they
would be able to take their own part in the world and
willing to keep out of its evils. Of that he was sure, as
regarded the three, but Joseph was his particular trust,
being the steadiest and most sensible, as became an
eldest brother ; and Herbert and Henry trusted in him
too, were guided by his advice, got out of scrapes by his
wisdom, and comforted in all their troubles by his
Kind and loving were the motherless boys to one
another, and happy was the little family as those that dwell
together in unity. Every evening found them gathered
in the cottage parlour, which Catherine kept so neat and
comfortable. Mr. Forester came home from his ware-
house, Joseph and Henry came home from Dr. Ashford's,
stopping by the way to fetch little Herby home from
Miss Green's. The father heard all his boys had to tell
of news, adventures, or it might be troubles ; gave then
his advice or consolation, if that were needed ; told them
THE YOUNG FORESTERS.
whatever he had seen or heard that might interest them;
helped them with their lessons ; played with them some-
times ; heard them read by turns in some of his own
books while he sat resting himself by the fire, and old
Catherine worked at the other side and listened. She
had never learned to read, yet Catherine spoke and
understood English well, and having travelled so far,
had a good deal of knowledge for her station. These
were their winter ways, but in the fine evenings of
spring and summer, they used to take hours of working
in the garden, which their own hands kept the neatest
and fullest of flowers in all the neighbourhood. When
there was no garden work to do, they took long walks
into the country, where Mr. Forester told them what
he knew of the wild plants and flowers. Though a man of
business, he studied many things besides, and had a par-
ticular fancy for botanizing ; and in the long, warm twi-
lights, they used to sit in the summer-house, have a deal
of talk, and sometimes their supper there, and sing the
Evening Hymn together before they went in to bed.
The Foresters had little company, because they did
not feel the want of it. They had very few relations,
and those they had were very distant, living in the
!North of England, and holding little correspondence
with them. So their summers and winters passed, as I
have said, till the time of my story, when as the spring
was coming in and there was a deal to do in the garden,
the boys could fcot help perceiving that, though Mr.
Forester worked and talked with them as usual, there
was some sad thought or trouble in his mind of which
he did not care to speak.
Day after day it grew upon him ; he took to looking
sadly on them all^ and asking them would they miss him
THE YOONG FORESTERS.
much if lie went away. He said so one warm evening
when they sat down in the summer-house for the first
time in that year, and Joseph, after thinking a minute or
two, said, " Father, dear, what makes you ask that ? you
know we would, and you know you are not going away."
" Indeed I am, my boy," said Mr. Forester, evidently
taking courage to tell it. "I am going (and must go
about Midsummer) far away to Archangel, to take charge
of Mr. Benson's concerns in the English factory there.
You see, Joseph," and he laid his hand on his thought-
ful boy's shoulder, " Mr. Benson, in whose employment
I have been these twenty years, is an old man now, too
old to go abroad to such a climate, though he managed
the firm's business in Archangel, I don't know how
long, and brought Catherine with him to London, when
he succeeded his uncle as chief of the house. The
gentleman who was his agent in the factory, died about
a month ago, and as soon as the intelligence reached
him, Mr. Benson came to me, told me it was very good
of him I was the only person he could think of trust-
ing with such an important charge ; he was pleased to-
say as a reward for my faithful services, because the
ngent has a right to trade in furs on his own account,
and gets all the advantages of a partner in the firm. It
would make me rich and able to provide well for my boys
in some years, Joseph that is a weighty consideration ;
besides, I cannot refuse Mr. Benson, as he knows of
nobody else he would employ in my stead, so I must go,
and send you all to a boarding-school, for it would not
be safe to leave you here without me, and my relations
in the north would not be fit guardians for you. I must
send you to school, let the cottage, and find a place for
THE YOUNG FORESTEBS.
"Father, dear, couldn't yon takens with yon?" cried
all the boys in a breath ; the idea of parting from him
and being sent to live among strangers "was more than
they could bear, and Herbert began to cry.
" My children, it is far away, and a terrible climate ;
the winters there are eight months in the year, no ships
can come all that time over the frozen sea or up the
" But there are Englishmen there, and you are
going," interrupted Joseph.
" Yes, there are Englishmen everywhere," said his
" And why should not English boys go ? Henry and
Herbert are not afraid of the cold."
" No, that we are not," cried the two.
" I would take care of them and help you ; I am a
great boy, nearly a man, now," continued Joseph. " You
won't leave us behind, father, we couldn't live without
you. We'll give you no trouble, we'll learn just as well
in Archangel ; I'll warrant there is some sort of a school
there. Catherine says it is such a fine town, and we will
see the world ; you always said that made men of people.
Oh, father, dear, let us go with you." And Joseph
clasped his hand, while the two younger boys clung
about Mr. Forester, with the tears in Henry's eyes, and
little Herbert crying outright, as they all joined in the
petition, " Father, dear, let us go with you."
The father tried to reason them out of it, but he
couldn't manage that well, for his own mind was set
against parting with his boys. He had lived so much
with them, found such comfort in them, and had
such a special trust in Joseph's sense and courage, that
when his eldest and much- valued son proved to him that
THE YOUNG FORESTERS.
it was making milksops and girls of them not to take
them to Archangel ; that English boys ought to be able
to face any climate, and get used to any strange ways ;
that they would, every one, learn his business and
be great helps to him ; that old Catherine would
go with them and keep house for them in the factory ^
as she used to do in Mr. Benson's time ; and that
they would all be as well off as in Meadow Cottage,
Mr. Forester gave his consent, after some hesitation
about taking little Herbert, who could not, and would
not, be left behind ; and it was agreed that the whole
family, Catherine included, should set out for Archangel,
provided the old woman was ready to go. She came
with the supper just as they had reached that conclu-
sion, and Catherine's eyes positively sparkled under her
furred cap, when the proposal was mentioned. She
would go with all her heart, nothing would induce her
to leave the master and the boys ; and, as for going back
to Archangel, hadn't she been born there ? there was no
place like it in the world. Many a time she had longed
for the fine frost that made the ground so dry and the
sky so clear for the long- winter nights and the long
summer days ; it was the only wish she had to see them
once again, and be laid beside her mother in the bury-
ing ground of the monastery beside the forest, where
they kept off the wolves with great fires in winter
THE YOUNG FOEESTEKS
THE WINTER LAND.
HAYING made up his mind, Mr. Forester lost no time in
executing his plan. His employer, Mr. Benson, thought
it a great venture to take his boys with him ; but since
their father was unwilling to leave them without a near
relation in England, and they would go, he said it might
be for the best. He would write to his people in the
factory to pay the family every attention, and they
should all have a passage out in the " Ice Queen," one
of the Russian Company's ships, always freighted with
his goods, and considered a safe and fast sailer.
Then there was a providing of warm clothes, socks,
,and flannels, enough to last them all their lives, the
boys thought. But old Catherine could tell them how
.much of the kind they should want in Archangel, and
Mr. Forester, though he had never been there himself,
Jiad so many acquaintances in the way of business
Russian merchants, and English agents who had resided
in and knew all about the place that he was not at a
Joss how to make his preparations.
They were all made at last. The warm clothes
packed in great chests, with books, stationery, and all
necessary things to be got cheap and easily in England,
but scarcely to be had in Archangel at all. Then the
cottage was given over to a house agent to be taken
care of and let as well as he could, till Mr. Forester
returned to his own country which would not be for
many a year. Joseph and Henry took leave of Dr. Ash-
ford and their schoolfellows, got some keepsakes and
*flE YOUNG FORESTERS.
all sorts of good wishes. Herbert bade farewell to Miss
Green and the little girls with a considerable cry, and
the present of a primer fall of pictures. Old Catherine
had nobody to take farewell of, but she put her cat in a
basket, determined that it should go northward too.
Every one cut a bunch of flowers from the little garden
they were leaving in its summer bloom their father told
them none of all those flowers could grow where they
were going and early one morning in the beginning of
July, the family that might well be called the exiles of
commerce, drove down to the London Docks and got on
board the " Ice Queen," a large merchant ship fitted up
for the northern trade, with all her cargo already stored
away and just about to lift her anchor. Away the good
ship steered down the Thames, and out at the Nore, far
over the German Ocean day after day and night after
night ; holding due north past England, Scotland, and
the Shetland Isles, past Norway, Iceland, and the Isles
of Faroe, but keeping so far out to sea and out of sight
of any of them, that scarcely a coast or headland was
visible, till sailing past Lapland they saw the North
Cape, a ridge of barren rock, running out into the
Northern Ocean, and known to geographers as the
uttermost point of Europe. "When she had doubled
that cape, as sailors say, otherwise, got fairly round it,
the ship held on her course by the east coast of Lapland ;
for now she took an easterly as well a northerly direc-
tion, till she entered that gulf or inlet of the Northern
Ocean which pierces deep into Russia, and is called the
White Sea, from the ice with which it is often covered,
and receives the great river Dwina, upon which, about
thirty miles from its mouth, stands the town of Arch-
angel. On that same track an English ship had steered
TJ1E YOUXG FORESTERS.
abont the beginning of Queen Elizabeth's long reign,
the first that ever reached the then desert shore, where
nothing but a monastery belonging to the Greek church 5
dedicated, after its manner, to the archangel Michael,
then stood ; and the land had no inhabitants but the
few solitary monks who lived there and the wild tribes
of Samoiedes or Russian Lapps, who hunted the furry
creatures with which its pine-forests and wintry wastes
abounded, to live on their flesh and keep themselves
warm with their skins. The ermine, the sable, the
black and white fox in short, all animals that yield the
most valuable furs were to be found there, and their
skins could be bought from the wild hunters for glass
beads, knives, and scissors. The English merchantman
brought home such a cargo as made other ships venture
on the same voyage. Their profits induced English mer-
chants with their clerks and servants to go out and settle
there for the purpose of buying up furs and sending
them home to England ; thus the English factory was
founded, and the town of Archangel grew about it,
taking its name from the old monastery, and gradually
increasing by the influx of Russian traders and settlers
till it became the first seaport of the Northern Empire,
for till its foundation Russia had no trade by sea.
What is called the Russian Company, that is to say, a
number of English merchants engaged in the Russian
trade, took its rise about the same time, and is now one of
the richest companies in London. It still imports its furs
from Archangel, keeps its factory and agents there for
collecting them, and its ships go and come every sum-
mer, from July to September.
The Foresters' voyage was a prosperous one, they
had fair winds and calm seas all the way, and it was
THE YOUNG FORESTERS.
full of wonders for the boys. The wide waste of water?
seen for the first time, and sailed over night and day,
with the sun going down into their depths and the
moon rising out of them ; the flocks of northern sea-
birds that passed over, with their strange cries and
feathers ; the shoals of great northern fishes that rose
and showed themselves on the surface of the sea ; the
wild coast of Lapland made up of ridgy rocks and pine
forests ; the lonely North Cape, so often mentioned in
their school geography ; and, above all, the lengthening
of the summer daylight as they sailed northward, was a
new and marvellous sight for the young travellers. At
length, they sailed up the White, Sea and entered the
Dwina, a mighty river, twice the breadth of the Thames
at Gravesend, and cast anchor at IsTowa, a Russian
fortress built on an isle at its month, with a little town
of merchants' storehouses built on its ramparts ; for the
river is so shallow, notwithstanding its mighty breadth,
and so blocked up with sandbanks, that no large ship
can come nearer to Archangel, which lies ten miles up.
So all the heavily-laden merchantmen anchor there, and
store up their goods till they are sold, and the officers
of the Russian custom-house look sharply after their
government dues. The anchor was cast, the gang-
way was lowered, the unlading began, and the Forest*
ers stood in a safe corner of the deck ; the elder
boys holding little Herbert fast by the hands, while
they all gazed on the strange scene around them, and
their father stood hard by watching the unlading and
answering their curious questions. As far as their eyes
could reach up and down the river there was nothing
but ships to be seen, some taking in, some getting out
cargoes, with a Babel of all the tongues of the North,
THE YOUXG FORESTERS.
and thousands of boats moving among them, of every
size and shape, with men in all manner of strange
dresses. Far off, on either side, lay the low flat lands,
mostly rough pasture or wild moss, as their father
told them, for no cornfields or orchards ripen there ; the
country lies too far north, and must get its bread from
more southern quarters ; but he pointed to a dim out
line like a great shadow to the southward, and said it
was the mighty forest of fir, larch, and pine, which
covered most of the province, afforded timber for the
ship and boat building, the chief manufacture in Arch-
angel, and sent millions of deals to their own England.
While he was yet speaking one of the boats came
close alongside the " Ice Queen," and out of it stepped
first a tall man dressed in a long straight coat, or rather
gown, of dark blue cloth ornamented with very large
and bright brass buttons, fastened round his waist with
a belt of polished black leather, from which a large
pocket of the same material hung on either side, and
there were no other garments to be seen, except a pair
of rough boots and a cloth cap trimmed with fur, like
old Catherine's. After him came another man still
taller, but he had a more stooping gait, and his gown,
though of the very same shape, was made of tanned
sheepskin. Neither of them showed a morsel of linen,
they had both bare necks, long, red hair, and longer
beards of the same colour, covering the whole of their
faces ; yet the one reckoned himself of the merchant-
class, for he had been clerk to Mr. Benson's agent who
died at Archangel, would be clerk to Mr. Forester, and
his name was, Nicholas Grimz off; while the other was
Ivan Paulowitz, that is to say in English, John, the son
of Paul, a serf or peasant in his employment, for doing
THE YOUNG FORESTERS.
porter's work and the like, and also a nephew to old
Catherine. Being so long in English service they could
both speak the language, and made equally low bows to
Mr. Forester, wishing him a very good day and thank-
ing God for his safe arrival. Then the clerk entered
into matters of business, while Ivan kissed his aunt,
seemed right glad to see her, and fell to talk in Russiac,
as the boys guessed about them. They had heard the
language before from merchants and seamen who met
their father in the streets of London, and Mr. Forester
understood it well, as his business required. They also
knew enough of Russian customs to perceive that the
cloth gown denoted the man of trade and education,
and the sheepskin coat the poor peasant, whom his lord
sold with the estate and hired out as he thought proper
or profitable. The red beard and the red hair, as well
as that queer costume, made both men look very much
the same ; but Joseph thought, and Henry agreed with
him, that Ivan had a remarkably stupid look, and Mr.
Grimzoff uncommonly cunning eyes.
They all got into the boat with their household
goods and chattels. Ivan and another sheepskin-clad
man rowed them up through the forest of shipping to
the town, and the boys saw that oldest port of the
Russian empire, made up of narrow but straggling
streets of wooden houses, painted all colours, but mostly
red, blue, and yellow, with wooden churches equally
painted, their spires topped with large copper balls, and
their bells always ringing. They saw, too, the only
stone building in the place, a sort of fortress with a
deep ditch, and a wall surmounted by towers all round
it, called in the Russian tongue, " The Court of Trading
Strangers." The English factory was first built there
THE YOUNG FORESTERS.
by early and adventurous merchants, and the principal
firms of the Russian Company have still their ware-
houses and offices within the walls ; but Germans and
Dutch, Swedes and Danes, have built there also, and
the court forms a little town of itself. Along the
quays, covered with stalls of all northern merchandise,
and crowded with people in all sorts of strange costumes,
buying, selling, and making a tremendous noise, through
the narrow streets and past the wooden churches, the
Foresters went to their new home ; followed by half a
score of Russian porters, carrying their goods, and com-
manded by Grimzoff, they got over a kind of drawbridge
thrown across the ditch, in at the principal gate, and
found themselves in an open square, paved like the
streets of the town with logs of wood, and surrounded
by tall houses, solidly built, but rather dingy-looking,
where the merchants kept their stores and offices, and
the clerks and agents of the Russian Company lived.
One of them belonged to Mr. Benson, a good but old-
fashioned house of three stories ; the lower one for his
agent's residence, the two upper to serve as fur stores.
It was comfortably furnished, partly in the English,
partly in the Russian style. The boys were astonished
at the great size of the stoves, which took up so much
space in every room ; but Mr. Forester told them they
would find out their value before Christmas ; and when
they wondered at the small size of the windows, he said
they would find out the reason of that about the same
time. Old Catherine looked at the place as if she found
herself at home again ; the good woman had been in
England nearly twenty years, but she remarked how badly
the furniture had been polished since she left, that her
grandmother's spinning-wheel, which she had stowed
THE YOUNG FORESTERS.
away in the store-room, was rather dusty, and that there
was a new cow in its appointed house, which opened
conveniently from Catherine's kitchen. All the arranere-
ments of that northern home were made for the long
season of frost and snow, as little going out of doors as
people could help ; cellars, stores, outhouses, all opened
from within, and were under the same roof. There was
no yard, no garden ; but the late agent had left a box of
mould covered with glass, in which two or three dwarfed
crocuses were blooming at a window which looked south-
ward, and Ivan said, though he did not see the use of
them, he had watered them as his English master used
to do, just for his sake, because the agent had been kind
It was a place built for the winter, and far unlike
their Meadow Cottage ; but the Foresters settled them-
selyes there, unpacked their English necessaries, laid up
their mighty stock of warm clothes against the cold
that would come, and made themselves at home in the
strange country. Mr. Forester had business to attend
to, and his boys had wonders to see, for everything there
was new, and every place full of busy life in the brief
bright summer of the north. Traders from all the
world's wildest corners were pouring into Archangel
day and night, or rather the time which is night in
England, for there is no such thing at that season on the
shores of the White Sea. They saw the sun go round
to the west, but instead of setting there he moved away
lower and redder still to the extreme north, where they
lost sight of him about eleven o'clock, when he seemed
to sink into the frozen ocean. Those that happened to
be awake saw him rise again out of the pine forest to
the eastward a little after one, and the evening twilight
THE YOUNG FORESTERS.
never melted away from the sky, but brightened back
into the dawn. Those long days brought ships from all
quarters to the river, and traders from the most distant
regions to the tcwn. Caravans came from Siberia, with
all manner of furs bought from the northern hunters,
and Chinese goods purchased at the eastern fairs packed
in rough heavy waggons, drawn by shaggy horses or
wild-looking oxen, with Tartar drivers, in canvas coats
and caps of lambskin. Corn-dealers came from the
banks of the Wolga and the Don, who had traversed in
their low flat-bottomed barges that long chain of canals,
lakes, and rivers, which link the south of Russia to the
north, a distance of more than a thousand miles. There
were troops of tall fair Fins from the Swedish frontier,
who brought their bundles of dried fish, bales of hides,
and bags of salt, to sell on the crowded quays. There
were seamen and merchants from all the ports of the
Baltic, all the Dutch towns, and chiefly from England.
There were multitudes of German traders and Polish
Jews, who came overland from far-off cities with every-
thing to sell, and it was said a good deal of cheating
among them. But the strangest sight of all to the
young Foresters, were those wild people whom the first
English merchantman found hunting and fishing on that
lonely shore, before a town was built or a ship cast
anchor there. The dwarfish, swarthy, uncivilized
Samoiedes, still clothed in the skins of wild animals,
armed with the bow and quiver, living in tents of half-
tanned leather, and owning no property but their herds
of reindeer, and the furs they collect by hunting in the
trackless wastes and forests which lie between Arch-
angel and Siberia. With these spoils of the chase tied
in bundles on their own backs, or packed in larger bales
THE YOUNG FORESTERS.
on the reindeer, they came, men, women, and children,
all dreadfully dirty, and with such flat faces, small eyes,
and dark complexions, that one would scarcely think
they belonged to the human family. They pitched their
tents on a rising ground outside the town, for the
Russians would not let them into it, set the reindeer to
graze on the coarse mossy grass that grew there in
summer-time, and made as stiff bargains as they could
with the agents of the Russian Company ; for wild and
dirty as they were, the richest sable and the most beau-
tiful ermine were to be had from the Samoiedes.
The Court of the Trading Strangers was as busy as
the town. Mr. Forester and Grimzoff were overworked
with inspecting furs which the traders brought, making
English goods pass for money in buying them (the wild
people had no use for gold or silver coin), and getting
their purchases properly put away in the store. That
was partly Ivan's work ; he was a good honest fellow,
as Catherine's nephew should have been ; but Ivan had
an unfortunate inclination, too common among Russian
peasants he was fond of corn brandy, the strong liquor
of the north. His last coppic, a Russian coin something
less than a halfpenny, went to procure it, and when
Ivan had got sufficient of his favourite beverage he was
fit for nothing but sleeping under the outside stair. Often
had the unlucky man been admonished, often threatened
with dismissal; but he was trusty, honest, and Catherine's
nephew, always ready to promise reformation, and par-
ticularly grateful to Mr. Forester for saving him from
Grimzoff's cane, a discipline to which Ivan had been
pretty well accustomed before his coming, as everybody
in Russia beats his inferior.
The boys helped to save him too. They and Ivan
THE YOUNG FORESTL'KS.
grew great friends, they assisted him in putting away
the furs after helping their father and the clerk to count
and sort them. Every hand was wanted in that busy
summer time, and it was their pride to show how useful
they could be in the far north. When business per-
mitted, they rambled about under Ivan's guidance
through the strange and crowded town, saw all its
wondrous sights of men and merchandise, picked up
Bussian and Tartar words, and looked particularly at
the ships in the river that came from or sailed away to
England. Sometimes they went far into the surround-
ing country, gathered juniper and cranberries in the
wide rough pasture lands where the small black cows
and hairy sheep of that northern land were grazing, and
saw the peasant people with their ways of work and
life ; pitch- gatherers on the edge of the forest with
their great fires to burn the fir trees, and pots to catch
the pitch in ; woodmen who lived and worked among
the tall pines, cutting them down and hewing them into
logs to warm the stoves in winter, or dragging them
away to the saw mills, where they were sawn into deals
which were shipped by thousands to England. It was
a great temptation to go far into the forest in search of
the bright coloured mushrooms and the Lapland rose
abounding in the warm and sheltered hollows, not to
speak of the wild birds with cries and plumage un-
known to our English woods. But Ivan knew there
were wolves and bears to be met with even in the long
summer days, and Mr. Forester laid strict commands on
them not to go out of sight and hearing of the wood-
men. So the deep thickets and long mossy paths which
stretched away through the pines and firs, had to be
"oft unexplored. Ivan said there was no end to them.
THE YOUNG FORESTERS.
The forest stretched all the way to Siberia, and their
father promised that they should travel through part of
it with him on a journey he intended taking to the
town of Mezen early in the following year.
" We'll see the forest, then," Joseph would say when
his brothers looked wistfully along the glades and
dingles from which they had to turn back. " Papa says
the way lies right through it, and no stopping place but
the hunters' house, where travellers never come. He
will take us out of the way to see it because it is a
curious place, and was built by a relative of Mr. Ben-
son's. We'll see the forest, then," and the boys would
go home rejoicing over that expectation.
THE WILD MERCHANT.
Ix the meantime the busy summer was wearing away.
Ships left the river, and did not come back again ; the
few that remained made great haste to get in their
cargoes before the frost set in. The caravans, with the
rough waggons and shaggy oxen, left the town on their
way home to Siberia ; the Tartar corn- dealers moved
away up the river in their empty barges ; the fur-traders
became few, and business slackened in the Court. The
days were shortening ; they could see the sun setting in
the west now. Cold winds began to blow from the
north and east ; floods of rain and sleet began to fall.
The quays grew silent ; in the houses and through all
the streets where people had slept and traded in the
THE YOUNG FORESTERS.
open air for the last three months, there were sounds
of carpenters and hammers at work closing tip crevices
in the wooden roofs and walls, fitting the windows with
double sashes, covering the doors with baize, and the
floors with thick Dutch carpets.
The winter was coming ; half the merchants of the
Court went home to their respective countries ; those that
remained made preparations as actively as the towns-
people. Mr. Forester was not behindhand ; he had been
warned of the winters in Archangel; his stoves, his double
windows, and all the other requisites were got ready ;
every chink in the house was closed ; a store of pro-
vender was laid in for the cow. Old Catherine got out
her grandmother's spinning-wheel, prepared a stock of
fine flax, and said she would now have a comfortable
winter, like what she used to have in her young days
with the old master.
About the middle of September there was not a ship
in the river, scarcely a boat to be seen, and very few
people in the streets ; the wind blew particularly cold
one night about bed-time ; it rose to a storm before
morning ; and when they looked out with the first day-
light, which now came late and dim, all the town was
white with snow. It continued falling the whole day,
swept into high white drifts before the blasts till the
streets were impassable, and nothing but the upper
windows of many houses to be seen. The storm sub-
sided ; they cleared the snow away from the roofs and
windows, but it lay deep and solid in the open streets
and over all the country round. Next night the frost
set in ; the snow became firm and hard ; the river got a
coat of ice which began upland, and gradually grew
down to the sea, getting thicker and harder as the
1HE YOUNG FORESTERS.
shortening days and lengthening nights went on, with
long hours of heavy fogs and occasional Gnow- storms,
the dreary beginning of the northern winter, which
comes when the corn is yet in English fields, and the
red apples on the boughs of English orchards. Mr.
Forester and his boys, like all the Court and all the
townspeople, were shut fast within doors, there was no
going out in those thick fogs and fierce storms. There
was no more business to be done, the fur stores were
closed, the dealers and traders gone, and the few clerks
and agents who remained in the place had nothing to
do but amuse and keep themselves warm for eight or
nine months at the least. That was the usual course of
things, and the men of business had reason to be satis-
fied at the close of that summer, for a better market
had not been known within the memory of man. The
furs had been particularly cheap and abundant, and Mr.
Forester, besides doing well for his employer, had made a
profitable investment on his own account, which he hoped
to ship for sale in England after his winter journey to
Mezen, where he intended to make further purchases
from the northern hunters, with whom the house had
always been on such friendly terms, that they were in the
habit of keeping the best of their furs for its agents.
Being kind and considerate to everybody, Mr.
Forester bad shown himself the same to their kindred
tribe, the Samoiedes, with whom he had done a good
deal of business, and concluded most of his bargains
with additional presents of knives, scissors, and looking-
glasses, greatly to the displeasure of Ghimzoff, who
warned him that there would be neither peace nor
profit got out of those greedy heathens, if he did not
give them less than they asked.
THE YOUNG FORESTERS.
The small hardy people had not yet moved home
ward ; they were waiting till the frost made land and
water hard enongh for their laden sledges and reindeer.
Their fires and tents could still be seen glimmering
through the thick fogs and high snow- drifts. They strayed
occasionally into the town to make their last purchases ;
but none of them had any more business in the Court,
and the Foresters were rather astonished, as they sat at
breakfast one morning, to hear something very like
scolding below, and see old Catherine enter the room in
a towering passion, with
" For mercy's sake, master, come down with your
whip, and wallop this Samoiede from the door; he'll
break it in with his fist," and her fears seemed con-
firmed by a continuous powerful knocking like muffled
hammers at the outer door.
" No, no, Catherine," said Mr. Forester, " nobody
shall be walloped from my house. What does the
Samoiede want ?"
" He has broken the big looking-glass he got into
the bargain for his marten-skins, and he is begging
another one to take home to his mother-in-law that is
to be. She is a great woman among them, it seems, and
won't let her daughter have him if she is not satisfied
with the presents he brings back from Archangel. I
told him you had not another glass in the house, but he
won't take l No ' for an answer. Do, master, let Grim-
zoffor Ivan wallop him away, since you won't do it
" They shall not do any such thing," said Mr.
Forester, getting up ; " the man can speak Bussiac, I
" Oh, yes, and English too," said Catherine. " He
THE YOUNG FORESTERS.
is the man that made such a hard bargain about tixj
marten-skins that day I was up in the store dusting out
the chests. He calls himself the chief of the tribe ; I
don't know his heathenish name, but Master Joseph will
remember him, I'll warrant, he had such a talk with
him about bows and arrows."
"It is Sorinsk, father/' said Joseph, recollecting the
Samoiede chief, who had been in Mr. Forester's store at
least twice a-week all the summer time. He was the
man of business for his whole tribe, and spoke English
tolerably well, having learned it in his frequent dealings
with the agents of the Russian Company. He was also
keener and more intelligent than the generality of Sa-
moiedes, and though given to make hard bargains, and
get the most he could, was known to be faithful to all his
contracts, and honester than many a civilized trader.
" I will go down and speak to him," said Mr. Fores-
ter ; and down he went, followed by all the boys, to get
another look of their northern acquaintance, whose bow
and arrows had special interest for them all. When the
outer door was opened for Catherine had talked and
scolded from the window the small, squat figure of the
Samoiede chief looked very like a moving snow-ball ; but
snow was no trouble to Sorinsk, he dashed a peck of it
off the front of his fur-cap with his hands, which never
saw water except on like occasions, looked up with his
small narrow eyes, and said in his best English, "My
honourable master, and all my honourable young mas-
ters, how you do this very fine morning ? Sorinsk has
oroKen his glass, and will break his heart too. if he don't
get one other all the same good, and big for Slamwa,
him wife's mother : she very proud, great chief's wife ;
proud and high as the Englishman's house," said S<v
THE YOTT3TG FORESTERS.
rinsk, looking np at the fabric, winch seemed so magni-
ficent compared with his own leathern tent. Forthwith
he entered on the woes which should come upon himself
and his promised bride, who dwelt somewhere far north
of Mezen, if her mother's goodwill were not secured by
the presentation of a looking-glass good and big as the
one he had broken. In vain Mr. Forester assured him
he had no glass to give ; there was no getting done with
Sorinsk and his tale. The Samoiede returned to it from
every denial. Time was of no value with his people, and
Catherine, Ivan, and GrimzofF, who had gathered to the
spot, began to insist on walloping as the only means of
getting rid of him, when Joseph recollected that there
was a glass in his own and his brother's bedroom. " I
am sure we could dress very well without it," he said ;
" and it is a pity of the chief. These wild people have
their own ways and their own troubles ; do let us give it
" Well, if you can spare it," said Mr. Forester, " give
it to him by all means."
" Oh, do, honourable master," cried Sorinsk, catching
part of their whisper, " find me a glass, and Sorinsk will
pay for it honourably in good skins when you come to
Mezen ; and if you don't come this winter, Sorinsk will
drive to the hunter's house, and leave the skins safe and
dry, and one fox-skin besides for the honourable young
master oh, do find me a glass ;" and he began his tale
of woe for the seventh time.
Joseph ran for the glass, to the utter disgust of"
Catherine, her nephew, and Grimzoff. The Samoiede
received it, looked it all over, surveyed his own flat face
in it, measured it with his dirty hand, said, " He is as
good and big ; I will bring the furs, honourable master ;"
THE YOUNG FOKESTERS.
and without, another acknowledgment, he thrust his prize
under his arm, and ran away through the snow.
THE Foresters saw no more of Sorinsk or his tribe.
The stormy weather continued for some weeks, shutting
all civilized men within doors ; but when the first heavy
snow-fall of the northern winter was over, the wind fell
to a dead calm ; the hard stern frost set in, making the
snowy ground like iron, and turning the rivers to stone.
The sky was heavily laden with thick grey fogs all day,
but they cleared away at nightfall, letting the bright
moon and thousands of stars shine out on the white
wintry landscape below. Then they saw the Samoiedes
rise up one evening when the fogs were floating away,
strike their tents, harness the reindeer to their sledges,
pack in all their goods and purchases, and speed away
over the frozen plain to their country in the north, a
journey of fully seven hundred miles, which nobody would
think of taking in that climate except in winter. Away
they went, and all the town and all the country round
came out too with sledges drawn by reindeer or hardy
northern horses shod for ice travelling. Distant friends
went to visit each other, men of business took journeys
to remote towns, young men set out on hunting parties
far into the forest, or down to the White Sea. It was
curious to see the winter life of the town and country,
everybody wrapped up, the rich in fine furs, the poor in
warm sheep-skins, but all out in the broad moonlight.
TEE YOUNG FORESTERS.
or the shorb faint gleams of sunshine. Some in richly
lined and decorated sledges, some in rough common
ones, but all with jingling bells, merry talk and laughter;
while thousands of young people, men and women, boys
and girls, went skating along over street and river, as
their business or pleasure took them. It was the lively,
leisure, pleasant time of their northern year, making up
to many for the hard work, the continued bustle, and
overcrowding of summer. Mr. Forester and his boys
enjoyed it as well as the rest ; the warm clothes they
had packed up in England under old Catherine's direc-
tion were of use to them now. The good woman gloried
in the fact, " Didn't I tell you what Archangel was,"
she would say ; " there is no winter in all Russia like
ours. It is the healthiest climate on the face of the
earth. I have heard that some learned men think the
Garden of Eden was planted here." The short days
and the long nights went quickly. December had come,
and Mr. Forester was talking of keeping Christmas as
they used to do in England, when all his plans were
broken up by the arrival of a letter, which came up the
Dwina by the Petersburg mail, a light sledge drawn by
reindeer, and getting over four hundred miles, the dis-
tance between the two cities, in less than three days.
The letter was from a partner of Mr. Benson's firm,
which, being one of the oldest in the Russian Company,
had a house in St. Petersburg too, ever since the great
Czar Peter built his ne\v capital on the banks of the
Neva, and commanded all foreign merchants to set u]i
factories there, on pain of being expelled from trade in
his dominions. The house in Petersburg did the same
sort of business as that at Archangel, but the agent there
\vas not so high in the owner's confidence ; he and his
THE YOUNG FORESTERS,
clerk had got into a dispute with an officer of the
Russian custom-house about some dues which they
thought had been paid. As Mr. Forester was the
nearest authority, they referred to him for advice, and
he found the business of a kind which could be best
settled in Petersburg. People thought nothing of tra-
velling between it and Archangel, now that the winter
had really set in and made all roads equally good for
their warm and well-appointed sledges ; merchants and
men of business were going and coming every day, and
experienced drivers were to be got at every post-house.
" I would take you with me, boys," he said, " to let you
see the city your geography speaks so much of, but I
should not have time to let you see anything, because I
want to come back and keep Christmas in our own
house here, and I can't spare the expense till my next
remittance comes from England. Besides, we are going
to Mezen, you know, to meet your friend of the looking-
glass, see the tribute paid, and buy up the last of my
venture of furs. I hope it will pay me well, and help
me to provide for my boys. Joseph, you'll take care of
your brothers, especially little Herbert, for Henry can
look after himself ; and keep good friends with Catherine
and Grimzoff. I can leave my goods and you to him
safely, though he is a stranger."
So Mr. Forester thought, and so thought his boys.
The clerk had always been very civil and accommodating
to them ; he had the best of characters from the former
agent. Mr. Forester had kept none of his affairs from
him ; Grimzoff knew the amount of furs he had in store on
his own account, knew what he had agreed to purchase
from the northern tribes at Mezen, and if he happened
to be detained in Petersburg beyond the appointed time,
THE YOUNG FORESTEBS.
the clerk was empowered to take his boys with him
and make the purchase in his name.
Having settled that question, thongh determined to
return in time to keep Christmas with his boys, if pos-
sible, Mr. Forester hired a warm travelling sledge, called
a katbitka, in which one could sleep on the journey
and carry one's provisions, for there are few inns in
Russia ; engaged a driver and post-boy experienced in
travelling between Archangel and Petersburg ; pro-
vided himself with a store of wrappers ; advised every-
body at home to behave well till he came back ; and set
forth one evening when the moon was rising and the
fogs clearing away. Joseph, Henry, and little Herbert
went with him as far as the outskirts of the town. It
was the first time they had parted with papa for so
long; they promised him not to run too many risks
in learning to skate and sledge, not to venture into
the woods without Ivan, and especially to be guided
by Grimzoff, and do whatever the trusted clerk bade
them till his return. So they parted in good spirits,
the three stood watching the long, low, covered sledge,
as it sped away over the icy plain, taking their father
from them, and then walked back with a sad, lonely
feeling at their hearts, to the Court of Trading
The time passed more slowly and heavily in their
father's absence ; they missed him morning, noon, and
night; but Grimzoffwas kind to them, Ivan had nothing
to do but help in their amusements, when the corn
brandy was not too convenient, and the winter sights
and doings of the town were as many and lively as
ever. Mr. Forester's first letter told them of his safe
arrival within three days, of his regret at not being
THE YOUNG FORESTERS.
able to bring them with him, Petersburg looked so
grand and gay in its winter dress, and his fear that
. the business on which he had gone would detain him
longer than he expected. His next letter said the dis-
pute with the custom-house officer had gone so far,
and there were so many matters to settle, that he
could not return before the middle of January, but they
were to keep Christmas in the English fashion without
him, invite all their young acquaintances in the Court,
and drink his health in the elder wine they had
brought from England. He also reminded them that
they were to go to Mezen with Grimzoff, from whom he
got the most satisfactory accounts of them and every-
thing at home.
The boys followed their father's counsel ; they kept
Christmas without him and found it a dull one, the half-
Russian boys of the Court did not understand the business
at all, old Catherine had the rheumatism, and Ivan was fit
for nothing but sleeping on the stove. Grimzoff helped
the fun with all his power, but being a Russian too, he
was not up to the thing, and just then making his pre-
parations for the journey to Mezen, which seemed to
occupy the clerk's mind uncommonly. Every mail
brought him letters from Petersburg, and the boys
thought from Mr. Forester. He got one about the
beginning of the new year which seemed to have a won-
derful effect upon him. Joseph saw him take it out of
his pocket, read it over to himself, and look keenly at
them when ho thought nobody observed him. Once or
twice the boy was on the point of asking if all were
well with his father ; but Grimzoff looked so cheerful, and
made such lively preparations for his journey, enlarging
on the furs he should buy and the wonders they should
THE YOUXG FOSESTEES.
see, that Joseph thought things must be right, and pre-
pared for the journey too, with good will and great
THE BOYS IN PERIL.
THE town of Mezen stands on a river of the same
name, about twenty-eight miles from the Icy Ocean,
and consists of nearly a hundred huts and houses, a
church, a market-place, and a government store. It is
reckoned the chief town and grand metropolis of the
Samoiede country, but only Russians live there ; the
northern tribes think it too far south for them. Their
chief men in trade travel, and by authority come to Mezen
once a year in midwinter, with the tribute which those
primitive and peaceable people have paid time imme-
morial to the Russian government for leave to live and
hunt in the frozen wilderness, where nobody else could
exist; namely, three fox-skins for every hunter who
carries bow and quiver. They generally bring a good
deal of furs besides, to sell to the many traders and
merchants who repair to the little town from all parts
of Russia, especially Archangel, which is considered
near in those extensive regions, being only a hundred
and forty miles south-west of Mezen.
"A nice little journey," said Grimzoff. " You will
travel with me in the light sledge, my young masters.
Ivan shall take charge of the goods I have to pay the
Samoiedes with in the heavy one. TVe shall sleep and
drive by turns ; the horses are easily managed in frost*
THE YOUNG FORESTERS.
time. You can do it as well as myself, I know. We
shall only stop to change at the post-house, and my
friend Nicholas Kloskow will take us in, and make us
comfortable at Mezen."
The boys got ready in high spirits on the day he
had appointed to set out. It was a week or so earlier
than the time their father had talked of; but Grimzoff
knew all about the business, and doubtless had reasons
for being in a hurry.
About two o'clock p.m. on the twelfth of January,
when the frost was at its hardest and keenest, the long
night had fallen, and the moon and stars were shining
as bright as day, the large heavy sledge stored with
goods to pay the Samoiedes and provisions for their
journey under Ivan's charge, and the light covered one
for the boys and the clerk, were at the door. They had
got on all the wraps, every one covered to the nose, as
people must be who travel in the north ; and old Cathe-
rine came to the door to see them off."
" Good-bye, good-bye !" said all the boys, rushing
out and scrambling in, for Grimzoff was there cracking
his whip, and away they went.
It was a glorious night ; all round them the solitary
plains lay like one wide extended mirror, reflecting moon
and stars, till they plunged into the great forest. There
was no underwood amongst those mighty trees, great
pines that rose high enough for the clouds to rest on
them, now all crusted and gemmed with frost, long
icicles hanging from every bough, and glistening like
diamonds in the moonlight. Every weaker plant had
shrunk into the earth, or died away before the fierce
winter, and there was clear room for horse and sledge
to pass between their great trunks in anr direction.
THE YOUNG FORESTERS.
Regular road there was none that the boys could see ;
every path on the frozen ground and between the great
trees looked the same to them. But Grim /off and Ivan
knew the way to Mezen by landmarks which their eyes
could not discover, for many a time had they travelled
it in the same fashion. Besides, the clerk kept them so
amused with his lively chat and tales of former journeys,
and what they might expect to see, that Joseph forgot
to call his attention to what struck him as a rather
unsafe arrangement. There was a large wooden bottle
under Ivan's seat in the sledge, to which the man in
charge of the goods and provisions had such frequent
recourse, that he wondered Grimzoff did not perceive
it, and expect the consequences. The first of them was
that just as the party emerged on a wide clearing made
by woodmen or by nature, in the heart of the great
forest whose dark outline could be seen bounding it on
all sides, Ivan's head began to droop considerably, the
whip fell from his hand, the reins followed it, and the
horses met with some rough ground which made them
swerve away from the track.
Grimzoff at once awoke to the state of the case, and
exclaiming, " That rascal has got drunk ; here, Master
Joseph, take you my whip and reins, these horses will
go as quiet as cats with you," he jumped out of the
sledge, and took possession of Ivan's seat, tumbling him
unceremoniously down among the bales and bundles at
the bottom, till nothing but his red head could be seen,
and nothing of Ivan heard but a long resounding snore.
The boys could not help laughing; Grimzoff himself
seemed in better humour than usual, for he only gave
the prostrate serf a sly kick or two, and they drove
merrily on till once more at the entrance of the forest.
THE YOUNG FORESTEES.
There two great paths led through the mighty pines,
the one bearing to the east, the other due north ; and
where they branched off stood one of those great rocks
or boulder-stones scattered over all the countries of the
north, and used as sign-posts, as this evidently was, for
there were Russian characters rudely cut upon it, and a
Greek cross pointing to the different roads.
"It's only telling you the way to Mezen," said
Grimzoff in reply to their questions. " There it is," and
he pointed to the track that led eastward. At the same
time something seemed to go wrong with his horses ;
one of them stumbled and plunged backward, as if
suddenly pulled up ; and Grimzoff cried in great vexa-
tion, " Here is a fine business, his hind shoes are coming
off; drive you on that way. Master Joseph, there is a
blacksmith a mile or two from this who will fasten
them on. It's out of my way to go to his forge, but I
can't help it."
" Let us go with you," cried all the boys in a breath ;
" we never saw a Russian blacksmith at work, and we
don't know the way when you leave us."
"No, I can't take you," cried Grimzoff, "the black-
smith is a cross man, and does not like the English ; in
fact, it would not be safe for you, and you can't miss
the way. There, it lies straight before you " he
pointed to the eastward track " drive on as fast as you
like, Master Joseph, I'll be sure to overtake you drive
on, 1 say ; are English boys afraid to be left by them-
"We are not afraid!" cried the whole three, and
little Herbert was the loudest, " but hadn't we better
wait for you ?"
" No, no, drive on if you are not afraid ;" and giving-
THE YOUNG FORESTERS.
his foremost horse the whip, Grimzoff scoured away
along the northward road, while Joseph, to prove his
own and his brothers' courage, drove on as he had been
directed. He did not like the clerk leaving them in
the midst of the wide forest, and long, lonely night ;
but their father had told them to be guided by Grim-
zoff, and no doubt he would overtake them.
They drove on in that hope for some time, first at a
rapid, and then at a slower pace, as the clerk did not
make his appearance, and the path became narrower
and more winding among the trees. Joseph slacked
the reins and they all looked back, straining their eyes
as far as they could see, and holding their breath to
catch the distant sound of the sledge bell. But no sight,
no sound of life seemed in all the forest, no sign of Grim-
zofFs coming, and they were alone in the frozen wil-
derness, not knowing what turn of the intricate way
was the right one for Mezen.
" I am afraid to go on lest we miss our way," said
Joseph, " I hope Grimzoff will soon come.*' That was
to keep his brothers' spirits up, for the boy's heart sunk
with a strange dread that they had missed their way
already, and the clerk might not find them.
" Is that him coming ?" said little Herbert, bending
forward to listen. His two brothers did the same, and
they could all three catch a sound far off and strange, like
mingled cries of some kind which seemed coming nearer.
In another minute it was like a pack of hounds in full
chase perhaps some northern hunters had roused a
wild boar and were coming that way. The sounds
came nearer still, the horses gave a terrified neigh and
plunged through the pines. It was beyond Joseph's
power to check them, and he did not try it, for a fearful
THE TOTING FORESTERS .
conviction flashed on his mind at the same instant ; it
was no northern hunt, no pack of hounds they heard,
but the hungry wolves howling for prey, and now
catching scent of them. They could see them by this
time scouring through the wood, a gaunt grey countless
troop, increasing every moment, till they seemed
hundreds strong, and filling the silent night with a
chorus of the most horrible howls. There was no
safety but in flight, and on the horses flew, dashing the
sledge against the trees, and plunging through every
turn and opening. The poor animals knew their
danger as well as the poor boys ; they wanted neither
whip nor rein, but scoured away neighing in mortal
terror, while the wolves came on howling behind, and
his two younger brothers clung to Joseph, crying out,
"What shall we do, they will eat us ?"
" Pray to God," said Joseph, " He alone can save
us." The boy spoke with a gasp of fear, for he saw no
possibility of escape, and a thousand chances against
them ; the sledge might be broken against the pines,
or they might be thrown out, the horses might break
the harness and leave them to their fate ; at any rate
he knew that the Russian wolves could tire out the
strongest horses, and already they were gaining fast
" Save us, Lord, save us !" cried the three forsaken
children in one wild prayer, and it seemed to be
answered at the moment, for as the sledge turned
sharply round, Joseph caught sight of an opening
among the thickest of the pines and a log-house stand-
ing in it. If they could get refuge there they might
yet be saved ; they had got a slight start of the wolves,
the pack had lost sight of them by the sudden t^rn, and
THE YOUNG FORESTERS.
were expressing their disappointment by louder howls.
Joseph strained with all his strength to turn the horses
that way, but his utmost efforts were in vain against
their headlong speed. Yet as the terrified creatures
dashed by, the sledge was suddenly caught by the pro-
jecting roots of a huge pine, half overturned in some
fierce northern storm. The traces were fortunately
strong, and there the horses stood, plunging, struggling,
and making the forest ring with their terrified neighs.
The wolves, in the meantime, had recovered the scent
and were coming on. It was hard to leave the poor
horses to them, but Joseph saw there was no other
chance for life.
"Follow me," he cried to Henry, clutching little
Herbert fast with one hand, while with the other he
grasped the overhanging pine roots, cleared the tossing
sledge with one jump, followed by his brother, rushed
to the door of the log-house, drove it open with one
vigorous push, there was no time for knocking, slammed
it behind him, and the three set their backs to it by way
of bar. They were saved, but their hearts beat hard
and loud, and their breath came short and quick as they
heard the poor horses wrench away the sledge at last,
and dash on through the forest pursued by the howling
pack, and the howls rose louder in a few minutes
mingled with what the boys knew to be the dying
shrieks of their poor horses.
" They will come back to us when they have finished
them," said Henry, with chattering teeth.
" They can't get at us through this strong door,"
said Joseph ; " stand fast against it till I strike a light
and see if there be either bolt or lock. What a good
thing it was I put a box of matches in my pocket, and
two of Catherine's pitched spills.
THE YOUNG FORESTERS.
The light was struck, and then they saw that the
house had strong walls made of pine logs. It contained
but one room, with only one window, not glazed but
protected by a stout shutter, and the single door against
which they stood was some three inches thick of solid
timber, and had equally strong bars above and below,
which the boys lost no time in making fast, and Henry
said they would keep out all the wolves in Hussia.
There was no furniture but one large stove, with some
straw on the top of ifc as if for a bed, for that is the
favourite sleeping-place of the Russian peasant, two
long rough stools, a table of the same make, and a
small heap of firewood in the corner. Nobody had
been there for some time. There were very old ashes
in the stove, some wild bird's feathers, and the tracks
of wild animals on the floor as if they had come there
in search of food and shelter, and had no face of man
to fear. Before they had well made these discoveries,
the wolves came howling round the house for the prey
that had escaped them.
" Oh for our father's gun," said Henry, " to let fly
at them from the window."
" I wish we had it," said Joseph ; " but I'll just
light this wood and throw a few firebrands out among
them. Nothing frightens wolves like that."
The wood was lighted and the firebrands thrown out
with great caution, not to set the pine walls on fire or
open the shutter too wide, lest the enemy might leap in.
The wolves fled as the blazing chips hissed and flared
among them, but came back in a few minutes closer
than ever, and with louder howls. The boys could see
them tearing at the walls with their fore-feet, and trying
to thrust their noses under the door, till heavy clouds
THE TOUXG FORESTERS.
began to come over the moon, and they knew that the
fog which came with the winter day, was settling down
on the forest. Then the wolves drew off, pausing on
their homeward march to utter long melancholy howls
that made the wide woods ring, but at length these
fearful cries died away in the distance. A grey glimmer
of daylight began to appear in the east, and Joseph and
Henry found little Herbert fast asleep between them,
with his head leant against the door, and the tears of
silent terror still undried on his young face.
THEY lifted the child up, laid him on the straw at the
top of the stove, and covered him with Joseph's great-
coat. He was worn out, and so were his brothers, and
when they had kindled a little fire of the wood left in
the corner and crouched close to it for that deserted
house in the forest was deadly cold poor Henry's
heart, which had held out so gallantly against the
terrors of the wolves, fairly gave way, and he began to
cry and wring his hands.
" What shall we do, Joseph ? What will become of
us in this fearful frozen place ? We have nothing to
eat, it is all gone with Grrimzoff, and he will never find
us here. The wolves have chased us miles out of the
way, and if they don't eat us at last we must be
starved. Oh ! Joseph, what shall we do ?"
" Put our trust in God," said Joseph.
THE YOUNG FORESTERS.
The boy spoke bravely, though every word his brother
said had gone to poor Joseph's heart like a knife. It
was only the echo of his own thoughts. He knew it all
better than Henry did ; and, what was worse, Joseph had
now a strong suspicion that the clerk never intended to
find them, that he had allowed Ivan free recourse to the
wooden bottle, made out that the horse wanted shoeing,
and left them on the forest road for some end of his
own. But like a true elder brother Joseph kept that
fearful suspicion to himself, and tried to cheer up
Henry with the only cheer he could offer, reminding
him of all their father had told them, and of all they
had read about the wonderful works of Providence,
preserving people in the midst of danger, and bringing
them safe out of the very jaws of death. " Daniel
was worse off than we are when he was cast into the
lions' den, and Moses when he was left in the ark of
bulrushes on the river ; yet they were both preserved,
and so may we. The same Eye that watched over us in
our home in England, on the wide sea and in the
strange city, sees us here in the midst of these frozen
woods, and the same hand can send us help. If Grim-
zoff don't find us, some hunter or traveller may come
this way. It's a frequented place, you see ; houses and
stoves are not put up in the forest for no use. There
may be a road leading to some town which we may find
when the day gets clearer. Let us not lose heart,
Henry, but pray to God. You know He is the hearer
of prayer, and a present help in times of trouble, as the
So Joseph and his brother knelt down beside the half-
heated stove, where wild forest birds had dropped their
feathers in that forsaken house, and prayed earnestly,
THE YOUNG FORESTERS.
as people in fear and danger are apt to do ; there was
nowhere else they could look for help but that best and
highest quarter, and dreadfully as they were situated
the poor boys rose up with something like hope in their
hearts. Old Catherine had put a parcel of pepper
cakes, favourite tit-bits over all the north, into Joseph's
pocket ; he recollected them now, gave two to Henry,
ate one himself, kept the rest for a reserve, and per-
suaded his younger brother at last to lie down under
his great-coat beside little Herbert, and take a sleep till
the fog cleared away, and they could see their where-
about more clearly. He laid down beside them himself,
but Joseph could not sleep. The thoughts of their
situation pressed on him, his father far off in Petersburg,
perhaps never to see them more, never to find out what
had become of them. His two younger brothers, must
they perish with cold and hunger before his eyes, and
he had been partly the cause of bringing them to that
frozen country? It was through his persuasion that
their father brought them with him from England, and
were they to be starved or eaten by the wolves ? Joseph
got up quietly, so as not to wake his brothers, but
determined to see the place, and what chance of escape
there might be, for the red sun was now looking out
through the thick curtain of fog that hung above the
pines. He unbarred the door with as little noise as
possible, closed it carefully behind him, and scrambled
up the half fallen trunk of an old and branchless tree.
From that elevation Joseph could see far and wide, but
all round lay the same hard white wilderness, tall trees
fringed with icicles, and frozen ground everywhere the
same, without beaten path or sign of life. There was
no sound to be heard in all the woods, the beasts of
THE YOUNG FOEESTEKS.
prey had retired to their dens, and the smaller creatures
and wild birds had left the land at the approach of
winter. Joseph came down from the tree, and moved
about here and there among the pines, gathering dry
sticks to help their fire, and looking out for some track
that might lead to human habitations, till he heard the
voices of his two brothers wildly crying, " Joseph,
Joseph, where are you ? have you gone away and left
" No ; here I am," said Joseph, running with his
bundle of sticks up to them, where they stood hand
in hand shivering in the doorway. " Don't be afraid at
every trifle ; don't cry, Herbert, here is a pepper cake
for you. I have such a lot in my pocket, and I'll give
you another, but we can't eat them all, you know, till
Grimzoff or somebody comes to us. Come in, we'll
make a rousing fire there are sticks to be got anyway ;
then we'll go out altogether, gather as many as we can,
and call with all our might; some one in the wood
might hear us, or we might find a way to some inha-
They made up their fire, wrapped themselves up as
well as they could, and went out, cold and hungry, but
in good heart. Joseph's cheerful words and looks kept
them from giving way. It was hard for him to keep
that face of cheer with so little cause for it, and harder
still to keep the boys, especially little Herbert, from
eating all the pepper cakes.
Out they went, keeping close together, and always
in sight of the log house, for Joseph had a dread of
losing their way back to it in the trackless forest. They
gathered sticks, they shouted with all their power, they
searched for paths, and often thought they had found
THE TOUXG FORESTERS.
them ; but one led them to the root of a hollow tree,
from which they got the glimpse of a bristly head and
white gleaming tusks, signs that a wild boar had fixed
his head quarters there; and in another their shouts
were answered by a long growl, which sounded like
hollow thunder, and they knew it was a great brown
bear, waking up in some cavern of the forest. Those
sights and sounds made them fly back to the log house,
and bar the door with all speed. Then the twilight of
the short day began to fall, the long night came down,
and they heard the howl of the wolves gathering once
more in search of prey. They did not come about the
house that night, but went by in howling packs ; all
night long the boys could hear them in different direc-
tions, and if ever they looked into the clear cold moon-
light there was some gaunt grey back crouching at the
root of the nearest pine, as if on the watch for the door
to be opened, or some of them to come out.
The night passed, and another day came like the
one before it, only the cakes in Joseph's pocket grew
fewer, and the sticks were harder to get. They made
the same endeavours to be heard or to find a path, but
with no better success, and were frightened back by the
glare of fiery eyes, and the crash of withered boughr
where the pines grew thickest. Another night, with
hopeless prayers and hearts sinking in despair, with
heavy sleep and terrible dreams, broken by the long
howls of the wolves they came about the house now,
and pushed and scratched at the door. Another morn-
ing, but no going out to gather sticks and call for help.
A terrible snow-storm, one of these which often come at
mid-winter in the north, as if to renew the white coat
of nature, had set in ; the sky was one mass of leaden
THE Y0i;:;a FORESTERS.
grey, the wind came in hollow moaning gusts, so strong
that they made the old pines bow and groan, driving
before them clouds of hardened snow, or rather hail,
which rattled against the door and window like a torrent
of swan shot. By degrees the wind ceased, and then
came the regular snowfall, one continuous shoAver of
large heavy flakes, which covered the ground in a few
hours deep enough to drown people in the hollow places,
half darkened the window, and raised a high barrier at
the door. Before night came their sticks were all
burned, and their fire went out ; they had eaten the last
of the pepper cakes, they had exhausted every hope and
every source of comfort. Poor little Herbert cried him-
self to sleep, and Joseph and Henry having once more
said their prayers, and feeling fairly worn out, crept
up on the straw, laid the child between them, covered
themselves and him with all the clothes they had,
stretched their arms over each other their brotherly
love helped to keep them warm to the last and fell into
half sleep, half stupor.
Joseph himself had lain down in despair that night,
there seemed no chance of escape or relief. He had
been sleeping and dreaming of the Meadow Cottage, and
old happy days far away in England, when a scratching
delving sound at the door made him start up and listen.
Were the wolves actually getting in ? Joseph scrambled
down from the stove, the place was pitch dark, for the
fierce cold made them glad to keep the window shut.
But he could hear the sounds going on outside, there
was something clearing and scraping its way throng!)
the snow. Joseph had heard of bears doing the like,
and crept to the door to make sure that its bars were
safe ; but as he stretched to feel the upper one, his ear
THE YOUNG FORESTERS.
cauglit a sound that no bear could make; it was
"humph" uttered by human organs. Joseph's heart
bounded as if to a bugle blast. It bounded still higher
when a low continuous knocking began outside ; the
bolts were withdrawn in an instant, and there, all one
mass of snow, with a horn lantern suspended from his
AMOIEDB DISCOYBKS THE BOYS IX THB HUT.
neck, and shining like a star, but looking as undisturbed,
and knocking away with his fist as hotly as he had done
at Mr. Forester's door, stood Sorinsk, the Samoiede
"Are you here, my young master?" said he, step-
ping calmly in, and shaking off the snow.
THE YOUNG FORESTERS.
" Henry, Herbert, we are saved," cried Joseph, run-
ning to his brothers and shaking them up.
" Sorinsk," cried both boys, darting down from the
store as if new life had got into their hearts.
" Yes, my young masters, it's Sorinsk, come to leave
the furs he promised to your honourable father for the
looking-glass ; it was very good and big : Slamwa was
satisfied, and Sorinsk got his wife. You'll take the furs
to your honourable father ;" and out of the capacious
wallet which hung at his back, the Samoiede produced
two marten, two ermine, and two sable skins, with the
air of a man redeeming his pledged honour. " Here,
my young master," he said, presenting them to Joseph
with the addition of a very handsome white fox-skin,
" you will take them safe to him, and keep this, Sorinsk
promised it yourself for finding the glass."
" Is this the hunter's house then ?" said all the boys
in a breath, recollecting how much they had heard of the
place as having been built years before by one of Mr.
Benson's relations, a young man who, as people say,
would do no good in the business he was brought up to,
and when his friends had settled him at Archangel as a
clerk, got acquainted with northern hunters, took to
their way of life, became a notable hunter himself,
and chose to build his house in that desolate region.
The man had been long ago lost in a snow-storm, which
came upon him while tracking a bear in the forest, but
his house remained in that solitary spot, some way off
the great road to Mezen, held in high esteem by travel-
lers and hunters as a place of refuge from sudden storms,
and of rest when over-wearied, and kept safe and sound
on account of common necessity. Had the boys known
that they might have had better hopes ; at the same time,
THE YOUNG FORESTERS.
bnt for the getting of the looking-glass, and the Samoiede
not finding their father at Mezen, they might have
perished there with cold and hunger before anybody
came. The Providence which had guided them to the
spot, and saved them from the wolves, was with them
still. The poor children gave thanks with tears of joy,
which even Joseph could not restrain.
" Have you no bread, young masters ?" said Sorinsk.
His flat face and narrow eyes did not look ugly then, for
there was honest feeling and kindness in them, and out
of his wallet he brought what looked very like a lump
of black earth, another of a brownish colour, and a rough
wooden bottle. The lump of black earth was a loaf of
Samoiede bread, made of rye-meal, reindeer's moss, and
pounded roots, the brownish lump was hard salt cheese,
made of reindeer's milk, and the bottle contained a thick
hot drink, which the northern tribes make of honey and
fermented mushrooms. "With his dirty hands, Sorinsk
divided this fare among them. Nothing would have
made the poorest in England stand the smell, much less
the taste, of it ; but the hungry boys thought it the best
bread and cheese they had ever eaten, and a draught
from his wooden bottle warmed their very hearts.
Then Sorinsk explained to them how he had missed
their father, but saw Grimzoff and Ivan at Mezen ; that
Ivan had told him they were lost on the road, because
Joseph would drive on, and had either lost himself and
his brothers in some forest swamp or been devoured by
the wolves. That story had been evidently told to Ivan
when he woke out of his sleep at the bottom of the
sledge. The clerk had repeated it to Sorinsk, but the
shrewd Samoiede's suspicions had been somehow aroused.
He would not deal with Grimzoff, though the latter waa
THE YOUNG FORESTERS,
buying furs at an unusually liberal rate, and had offered
to take charge of the promised skins for Mr. Forester.
Without a word of what he thought or meant, Sorinsk
harnessed his reindeer, mounted his sledge, and drove
off to the hunter's house, there to deposit the promised
skins, as few but Samoiedes came that way, and Sorinsk
knew his tribe would not steal them. The snow-storm
had overtaken him near the end of his journey, but he
and his reindeer knew their way in light or darkness,
and, with a sort of rude snow-plough, which always
forms part of a Samoiede's travelling equipments, they
got through the drifts and reached the barred-up door in
time to save the starving children.
When Sorinsk had heard their story, he merely
shook his head, as if nothing better was to be expected ;
then went out into the calm, starlight night which had
succeeded the stormy day, unharnessed his reindeer,
rubbed the snow off them, led them into a corner of
the house, brought in his various goods, including a
basket of moss for them, two bear- skin cloaks for him-
self, a leather bag full of charcoal and pine chips dipped
in pitch and grease, and another wallet full of pro-
visions like those he had shared with the boys. They
gave him all the help they could in his settling arrange-
ments. Lastly, Sorinsk brought in to another corner
his own sledge, long, low, and light as a fishing-skiff,
and as he laid it down said
" It will keep warm there till to-morrow makes the
snow hard ; then Sorinsk will take you home to Arch-
angel, among the great houses and the Englandmen,
for Grimzoff is a very big rogue."
The Foresters thanked him with all their hearts.
He made a fire for them of his charcoal and pitched
THE YOUNG FORESTERS.
chips ; they got well warmed, went to sleep on the top
of the stove under one of his bear-skin cloaks, while he
slept under the other ; and with the first glimmer of
daylight the Samoiede woke them np, saying
" Come, the snow is hard, the fog will be thin, and
we will go to yonr honourable father's house."
Right gladly they helped to harness the reindeer,
seated themselves in the sledge with all Sorinsk's goods
and chattels, and drove away over the now frozen sur-
face of the new-fallen snow, out of the forest, by ways
which they never could have found, across the plain, and
into the woods once more. All the way Sorinsk enter-
tained them with Slamwa's admiration of the looking-
glass, the beauty and accomplishments of his Samoiede
bride ; she had the flattest face in the whole tribe, and
could kill a wolf, it appeared ; with the grandeur and
magnificence of his wedding-feast, the reindeer that had
been slaughtered and the bears that had been killed for
the occasion. At length they discerned, through the
clear night which had corne again \vith all its stars, the
distant spires of the wooden churches, and the stone
towers which arose round the court of the trading
strangers. In less than half an hour the sledge was in
the town, and at the Court gates ; the principal one
stood open ; there was a sledge and horses at their own
door, and out of it was stepping their father, just
arrived from Petersburg. What joy there was in their
hearts to see him ; what a telling of their adventures
and escape ; what thanks and presents were bestowed
on the honest Samoiede ; what a lifting up of old
Catherine's hands there was when she heard their
*' And I knew the villain meant no good," said the
THE YOUNG FOKESTER3.
old woman ; " lie stayed so long in the store, and kept
such a counting up of something to himself."
" But what could make him do such a wicked thing
as to send us astray in the forest ? We might have
been lost or eaten by the wolves," said Joseph.
" I'll tell you, my boy," said Mr. Forester, "it was that
root of all evil, covetousness. Listen to me. The very
week before I left Petersburg, there was an Englishman
of the name of Forester, engaged in the fur trade like
myself, but no relation of ours, drowned by the breaking
of the ice on which he was skating somewhere up the
Neva. One of Grimzoff 's acquaintances in the town,
believing it was I that had met with such a fate, sent
him the intelligence, doubtless in the letter which you saw
him reading so often. He knew what a valuable stock of
furs I had in hand, how much I had agreed to ouy from
the Samoiedes at Mezen ; and thinking to get the whole
bought and sold for himself before news of the agent's
death would reach England, he sent my poor children
astray in the forest to perish with cold, or be devoured
by wolves, that there might be 110 claimants to my
property. I heard the whole story from a trader who
travelled with me, for the very purpose of buying the
furs from Grimzoff, though he did not know, nor did I
at that time, what means the wretch was taking to
secure them, to himself. I guessed there was some foul
play, and have sent to the governor to put the police
on his track. And now, my children, there is some-
thing more that we have to be thankful for. Mr. Benson
wishes me to come back to England as soon as the
summer thaw opens the river, and a ship can come up
to take us. He is pleased to say he cannot do without
me in the warehouse, and the gentleman who got into
THE TOUXG FORESTERS.
the dispute with the Custom-house officers in Petersburg
would do better here. So we will go back to our own
mild winters and our Meadow Cottage. Catherine will
go with us, she says. You will have seen the far north,
and never forget it, I dare say. Neither will any of us
forget this truly noble chief of his tribe, whose honour
and honesty enabled him to save and bring you back
to me ; but for that looking-glass and his faithful
keeping of his promise, I should have lost my three
boys. Never forget that, my children, nor in all your
after lives forget to acknowledge and trust in the
Providence that was with you in the desert, when there
was nothing around you but wolves and winter, and
you were deserted and doomed children."
BY THE AUTHOR OF "A TEAP
TO CATCH A SUNBEAM," ETC.
* ' T ATE again, Helena ;
I J really I wish you
would try to be a little more punctual."
" I do not want any tea, thank you, mamma."
" Oh! nonsense, child, have your tea now you are
come, but it is very provoking of you always to keep
" Which old woman was it this evening, eh, Miss
Foster ?" asked a young man, who, appearing to have
finished his tea, had chosen a luxurious arm-chair for his
comfort, and the newspaper for his amusement.
" No old woman at all, Walter ; but a very pretty,
oh, a very pretty young one."
" In your opinion."
" In every one's, she is beautiful."
" Discuss that important subject presently, Helena,"
HELENA S DUTIES.
gaid her father, who had not yet spoken. " You have
kept your mother long enough over the tea, take what
you want and have the things cleared."
The young lady did as she was bidden, taking one
cup of tea only, and rising from the table she rang to
have the tilings cleared; and then drawing a chair
near the window sat herself down with no employ-
ment, her hands folded listlessly on her lap, and her
eyes fixed on the clear evening sky, which the setting
sun had tinged with a golden hue. She was ver*
pretty, Helena Foster, just seventeen, tall and slight,
with brown hair, real brown hair, and eyes to match,
and a complexion soft and fair, with not much colour.
She was the last remaining daughter of the home.
They had two boys, but of four fair girls she alone
remained, and very dear and precious she was to them
as you may suppose. She had much in her disposition
to merit their love, for she was warm-hearted, affec-
tionate, tender, generous, and truthful, full of good
resolves, and high and noble ambitions. But she had
one fault which I in the course of my story shall endea-
vour to show you, and which perhaps many of those
who read her story will find they themselves possess.
Possibly the fact that the poor parents had only her
left to them now had occasioned them to grant her
rather more licence than would otherwise have been
accorded to a girl of her years. She did do a great deal
as she liked, and was seldom rebuked by her doating
father and mother for anything.
The young man whom she had addressed was a
nephew of Dr. Foster's, who laboured under what his
uncle considered the misfortune of having been left by
his father independent of the world ; for his naturally
indolent disposition rendered him unwilling to do any-
thing, and as there was no necessity for him to work,
he led an utterly idle, profitless life. Happily he had
had excellent principles instilled into him by a judicious
mother, so that he did not occupy himself in wrong
doing beyond the fact that waste of time and talentr
must be necessarily wrong, as his uncle often endea
voured to show him. But as yet he could not be per.
suaded that there was any necessity for him to make
work, and therefore Helena's energy, and enthusiasm,
and self-constituted employment proved great amuse-
ment to him in his visits to his uncle, and a never-ending
subject for a laugh against his cousin.
" About this beauty, Helena," said Leslie, after the
servant had removed the tea, and Helena had during
fche time been gazing from the window.
" She is the lady about whom I have been interested
so long, and whom I had persuaded to take Belle Vue
Cottage. She arrived to-day, and I assure you she is
lovely. Mamma, you will call on her, will you not ?"
" I don't know, my dear ; perhaps."
" Oh ! mamma, do. I am sure she wants some kind,
motherly person to comfort her. You don't know how
much she has had to bear, such shameful ingratitude
from every one."
" From every one ?" asked Mr. Leslie.
" Yes, from every one ; people for whom she has
done the kindest acts have used her cruelly."
" I suppose she tells you all this herself, Helena,"
said her father.
"Yes, papa; but you know Lady Warrington told
me all about her first ; I met her there, you know."
" Ah ! that visit had better never have been paid."
HELENA S DUTIES.
" Never mind, it is useless talking now, but try and
moderate your transport about this injured lady until
you know a little more of her. I have very little faith
in a * victim/ my dear. Love begets love, and the in-
stances are very rare in which a person who has served
others well is not served well in return."
" Well, papa, you only talk to her, that is all ; if you
do not then believe me and her, I shall be astonished,
Why do you sit there smiling so provokingly, Walter ? 5>
" May I not smile ?"
" You may of course, but I would rather you did
not when I know you are smiling at me, or rather my
" You are not assured that I am doing so. I may
have thoughts which excite my merriment."
" Ah ! I know exactly what those thoughts are,
because you do not believe in anything or anybody."
" Oh ! Helena, what a sweeping accusation. Will
you have a game ftt chess with me after that ?"
" Yes, if you like ; but you will beat me, for my
head is full of thoughts and plans, and I shall not know
a queen's move from a knight's."
" We will try at any rate," he said, rising and
placing the table.
" Did you see Betty Hooker to-day, Helena ?"
" No, mamma, I had not time. I meant to do so,
coming home, but I was late, and came back without
" Oh ! I thought it was important that you should
see her every day," said her mother, smiling.
Helena blushed as she answered.
" Yes, mamma, and I have seen her every day sinco
I told yon so, and she is much happier and calmer ; Mr.
Lee says so."
" Then yon think she'll do, Helena, eh ?" said her
" Check to yonr queen."
" Yes, of course," answered Helena, impatiently ; " if
papa and mamma will persist in talking to me, how can
I play ?"
" Oh ! we wont say another word, then. Why are
you stitching so, my dear, must that work be done
" Well, I must get on with it ; for we are getting
quite short of table linen really, and I want three new
cloths made so much."
" Ah ! if we had a daughter now who could work,
she might help you."
" Helena is overpowered with work. She is cloth-
ing a whole family, I believe. Look at her work
basket," and her mother pointed to a standard gilt
basket in one corner of the room, which was filled with
print, shirts, calico, etc.
" Oh, then mamma works for the house, and her
daughter for the parish."
" Papa, you said you wouldn't."
" My dear girl, I was not speaking to you."
"No, but of me, and that is quite as bad; then
checkmate of course, I knew I could not play," au<J
rising from the chess-table Helena refused to touch
u Then sing to us, will you not ? " asked Leslie.
"No, I cannot do that, I must try to work; as
mamma says, I am overpowered with it."
" Leslie, let you and me issue a protest against work
in the evening, eh? I think the ladies are bound to
amuse us then," said Mr. Foster.
" Unquestionably, sir," replied Leslie.
" Mamma, set the example ; put away that odiou 3
" Oh ! dear George, do not ask me to-night," said his
wife pleadingly ; " I do so want to get on with this."
"Well then, the rule commences to-morrow night.
And see, Helena," said her father with more rebuke m
his manner than was usual to him, "you assist your
mother to finish that work, as it seems it is wanted."
" Mamma could send it to the school and have it
done there, papa ; but she won't."
" Because, my love, they really don't work well
enough ; but, never mind, I shall get it done somehow."
" That flaimel stuff too, Helena, is not drawing-room
work. No more of that in the evening, remember, after
" Now, Leslie, suppose you and I try to amuse each
other ; come, what shall it be, a game at cribbage, or
chess, or what ? "
"As you please, sir, I am at your service."
" Well, then, suppose we try a game at cribbage."
Leslie rose and got the cards, and the gentlemen
omused themselves in this manner until bedtime, whilst
the ladies stitched in silence, each occupied with her
own thoughts. On separating for the night, as Mr.
Foster kissed Helena, he said in a low voice, " My child,
do not let me have to remind you again, that you must
assist your mother with that work she wishes to havo
finished. Do not let the loss of poor Maria be recalled
so painfully to her recollection by tl e remembrance of
how useful she used to be."
Tears rose to Helena's eyes, but they were not of
sorrow ; she thought her father unjust, and without
seeing Mr. Leslie's hand outstretched towards her, wait-
ing to wish her good-night, she hurried out of the room
to the refuge of her own. The next morning, imme-
diately after breakfast, her mother met her on the stairs
dressed to go out.
" Where are you going, Helena ?" she asked.
" Down to Belle Vue, mamma, just to see how Mrs.
Hamilton is getting on, and if I can do anything for
" Is that necessary ?"
" I think it is kind to a stranger, mamma, whom I
have induced to come here."
" Very well, only remember we lunch at one to-day,
and the boys go back to school on Monday ; and require
all their things looked over. I think you ought to
" Well of course, mamma, if you desire me, but really
I do not know why Esther cannot do it. I can't think
what she's kept for."
" My dear, Esther has plenty of house-work to do ;
and besides, I think so little as we see of the boys, the
least we can do when they are at home is to see they are
comfortable, and that all their clothes are in order, and
they have all they want to take back with them. Esther
would not know what they require, nor how to arrange
it all without me, and it would be only hindering her
" I should have thought she might have helped you
as well as I."
" Oh ! very well, my dear, so she shall if you would
rather not;" and her eyes filling with tears, the mother
on, on her way up-stairs, but Helena had no
wish really to grieve her, she loved her too much for
that ; and, hastening after her, she threw her arms round
her, and, kissing her warmly, said, " Dear, dear mamma,
I won't be gone long, and then I'll come and work like
"Very well, love, run away ;" but the poor mother
sighed as the recollection of a small pale face rose before
her with her nimble fingers and useful, thoughtful head.
Always at hand when she was wanted ; always ready to
give up her own wishes to others, sweet Maria, she
was gone to reap the reward of her labours, of her love
and unselfishness in a land where there was no sorrow
nor care, only love in all its fulness to satisfy and make
her happy. And Helena went on her way not quite so
cheerfully as she had thought to do ; that troublesome
little monitor conscience kept whispering disagreeable
things, and making itself a very unpleasant walking
companion ; so that she was glad when her walk ended,
and she arrived at Bellevue Cottage.
The woman of the house who answered the door to
her said Mrs. Hamilton had not left her room, but she
would say Miss Foster had called if she would step in.
Helena remained a long time in the little sitting-room
alone, and at length Mrs. Hamilton's own maid, a very-
elegant young lady, came to say that if Miss Foster
would not object, Mrs. Hamilton would like to see her
up-stairs. Accordingly she followed the aforesaid ele-
gant young lady to her mistress's room.
" Ah ! my darling girl, how good of you to come to
me," was the salutation of the extremely beautiful
woman who, in a very becoming white muslin wrapper,
richly trimmed with Valenciennes lace, was lying on a
conch by the open window, with a small round table besido
her, on which was a little breakfast service of Sevres china,
for one person, called a solitaire, and a vase filled with
flowers. Her beautiful hair, of a rich auburn brown,
was plainly braided and rolled up in a massive coil
behind, and a small fichu of point-lace was over her
head fastened under the chin with a brooch formed of a
leaf of green enamel, on which rested a diamond fly.
" Put a chair for Miss Foster, Rawlings, and 1 will
ring when I want you," she said ; and with a smile of
ineffable sweetness she took Helena's hand between her
own delicate white ones. " I have had such a night,
love ; scarcely closed my eyes, and, when I did, only to
dream of horrors ; and I fear this house is damp, for I
have had neuralgia in my face so fearfully ; about two
I dropped asleep, and was woke with the excruciating
pain. I have had the old lady up this morning Mrs.
What's-her-name, Cramp and she assures me as ' 'o\v
no one as never complained of the 'ouse being damp ;
and has for the beds, she may say she's more than
particular.' So I suppose I must try and imagine it is
" Oh ! I do hope it is not damp, dear Mrs. Hamil-
ton ; and I think it cannot be, it is in such a dry situa-
tion. It has not been very long unlet, and they were a
largo family who had it last, filling every room in it."
" Do you know, love, I thought there had been e
large family in it, it smelt so stuffy when I first came
into it ; and the papers are so dirty. I must talk to the
old dame, if I stay, about papering the rooms I use.
I have such a horror of dirty paper."
" Then you don't like it, I fear," said Helena, in a
HELENA S DUTIES.
M Oh ! yes, I do, dear, very well indeed. Ycra
know I am an awful fidget; but when one has lived
in the height of luxury for years, one feels so pain-
fully all that jars on feelings which have grown over-
refined. But I must get used to it, and I shall in
time. This, you see," she continued, pointing to the
little breakfast- service, " is a remnant of old times. I
carry this with me wherever I go."
" It is very lovely," said Helena.
"Yes, I bought it myself, in my brief reign of hap-
piness, when I thought men and women were what they
seemed, and life one bright, long holiday ; but I have
learnt a different lesson now how false are all human
beings, and what a weary, disappointing thing life is.
A letter has followed me here already, to worry me, and
prevent my spending in peace even the first day in my
new home. There, read it. It is from a woman to
whom, when trouble and sorrow surrounded her, I gave
the shelter of a home. You will scarcely credit it."
Helena took the proffered letter, and read as fol-
" MADAM, I regret the necessity which compels me
to say, that unless your small account is paid by the
18th inst., I must put the matter out of my hands.
Payment by return will avoid all disagreeables.
" What do you think of that ? That woman, my
dear child, is a milliner in London, who was at one time
in the most abject distress. I paid her half-year's rent
in advance, besides the balance she owed, for which
they were threatening to turn her out of hodse and
HELENA S DUTIES.
home, and took her little sickly child, dying almost for
want of good food and care, into my house, where I
kept her till she was strong and rosy, got several of
the most fashionable women in town to employ the
mother, for she was very clever, till finally her busi-
ness so increased as to enable her to take a house in
the best part of London. And this is the way she
repays me, harassing me for her paltry bill. But
I will pay it, and, of course, never enter her doors
" It does seem very ungrateful," said Helena, scarcely
knowing what to say, for she was a little disturbed at
the idea of her new friend having debts, so strictly had
she been brought up herself in that particular; and
though always well supplied with money by her indul-
gent father, never permitted to incur a debt, or buy
anything she could not afford to pay for.
" Ah ! my dear," replied Mrs. Hamilton, " I am used
to it ; but to think that I, who once had thousands at
my command, should now be harassed and worried by
having to pay a paltry bill of a few pounds. Oh ! my
child, never marry, or, if you do, beware that your
husband is not an extravagant spendthrift, who, squander-
ing all your money, will laugh in your face, and tell you
it became his when he married you." A knock at the
door interrupted her conversation.
" Come in," she said ; and the woman of the house,
Mrs. Cramp, entered.
" Oh ! if you please, ma'am, and bogging your par-
don, but has you hany horders for the butcher." Mrs.
Gramp, whenever she addressed ladies, was most par-
ticular in aspirating every word that she possibly could ;
for it appeared to her to have a more genteel sound-
HELENA S DUTIES.
" The butcher ! Oh ! no, Mrs. Cramp ; I cannot
pat meat. I suppose poultry is to be had here ?"
" Yes, ma'am, hof course, but jcist now main dear;
they was hasking six shillings a couple for chicken
yesterday, which his dearer than I have hever remarked
it since I have been in this place."
" I don't mind if they are good ; I shall only trouble
the butcher for some meat for soup, that is, if you are a
good hand at soup, Mrs. Cramp ; but I am very par-
"Well, ma'am, I don't know has I ham much of
what you call a hexperienced hand "
" That is awkward ; but is there no pastry-cook
near the place ?"
" In the next town, ma'am, a hexcellent one/ 5
" Then I can send for soup, Mrs. Cramp, and save
you the trouble ; dismiss the butcher." And, as Mrs.
Cramp left the room, deeply impressed with the grandeur
of the lodger, who thought nothing of giving six shil-
lings a couple for chickens, and would send four miles
for her soup, Mrs. Hamilton turned with her sweet
smile to Helena, and said, " I have a painfully fastidious
appetite, and cannot eat anything badly cooked."
Helena found it difficult to answer just then, for the
thought would obtrude itself that, if Mrs. Hamilton
found so much difficulty in paying a milliner's bill,
there was some inconsistency in ordering such an ex-
pensive dinner. Helena fancied she should, if placed in
the same circumstances, have tried to content herself
with a mutton chop.
" You will dine with me to-day, there's a nice child,
won't you?" continued her friend, without remarking
"I do not think I can to-day, thank yon; mamma
rather wants me."
" Oh ! ask her to spare yon to me this one day ; she
has r hnsband, and boys, and all home ties ; I have
nothing. I shall dine at six, so yon can run home, and
come back again to me."
u Then I had better go at once, and make myself
useful while I can."
" Oh, no ! not just this moment yon are only just
come ; you do not know how sweet it is to look at a dear
young face ; I can fancy that like you would have been
my Erameline, if she had been spared me, but even
Heaven seems to have been hard to me. When my
cruel husband, having ill-used me and spent my money,
departed, and I was left with my pretty little girl,
I thought I had expiated my sin in marrying such
a man by all the sufferings I had borne, and that my
life was to be at last a peaceful one. In bringing up
and educating my darling I hoped quietly to pass my
life, away from the world and its vain follies and
pleasures ; but only a few bright months elapsed, and she,
my darling, was taken from me ; the sweet eyes, that
were the only ones which ever looked lovingly at me
were closed for ever, and I was alone in the world oh !
how alone none can tell but those who have lost their
all, as I have ;" and, as she spoke the last words, tears
streamed from her lovely eyes, and sobs seemed to
choke her utterance. Helena rose from her seat, and
knelt down beside her, kissing tenderly the white hands
which were clasped together in anguish ; mentally deter-
mining that nothing should or could make her doubt, or
cease to live and be the slave, if she wished it, of this
beautiful and persecuted being. It wanted but a
quarter to one when Helena at length left the cottage.
Just as she shut the gate she was met loy old Mr. Lee,
the vicar of the parish.
" Good morning, Miss Foster, have you been to see
my new parishioner ? I am on the same errand."
" I am so glad, Mr. Lee ; I am sure she wants friends
to comfort her, and I know she will be pleased to see
" I will go and see what I can do then ; and how is
Betty Hooker? I have not seen her the last day or
"Nor I," answered Helena, blushing deeply as she
spoke ; " I have been so much occupied."
" All right," interrupted Mr. Lee, kindly noticing
her confusion ; " your first duty is at home. If you can,
like a good little girl, give any spare time to be my
curate," he said, smiling, " I am very glad, but you
must not be distressed when you cannot. Good day, I
shall look in on Betty myself presently ;" and, before
Helena had time to say more, he was gone ; but his
words somehow rang in her ears, " Your first duty is at
home." The church clock struck one as she passed it ;
she hurried on her mother had warned her that
luncheon would be at one. She should be late again, and
then she remembered it was Wednesday the day in
the week when she always took a class in the school.
Well, it was too late now ; she must get home, and take
her class in the afternoon.
Just before reaching her own house, she was saluted
with a wonderful " bob " from a girl about fifteen, in the
dirtiest and raggedest of gowns, and a dirty straw bon-
net to match, in which were some faded flowers.
She felt compelled to stop and address her.
" Amelia, is that the new dress I gave yon such a
little while ago ?"
Something like a blush covered the girl's dirty face,
as she answered
" Oh, if you please, miss, I couldn't stay in that place
you got me ; it was so 'ard, it hurted my back, and so I
coined home, and I've been a working for mother, and
mucking about since."
" That you have been making yourself filthily dirty
there is no question, Amelia, and I shall do nothing more
for you, nor recommend you to any other place. I be-
lieve, if the troth was told, yon have been sent away for
The girl made no answer ; and as Helena was in a
hurry, she only said, " I shall call and see your
mother about you," and hurried on her way, but
it was twenty minutes past one before she reached
She opened the door, and flew up- stairs to take her
things off. As she passed the dining-room, the door of
which was open, she saw there was no one there, and so
hoped that in spite of all, she should be nearly as soon
as the rest. The next room to hers was occupied by
her brothers, and she thought she heard some talking-
there, and opening the door to ask if they were ready
for luncheon, an exclamation of terror and distress
escaped from, her as she saw her brother Arthur ex-
tended on the bed, deathly white, and apparently lifeless,
with his mother and father beside him, and her younger
brother standing at the foot of the bed.
" Oh, here is Helena," said her mother ; and at the
sound the boy opened his eyes, and smiled faintly, re-
lieving Helena's mind with the knowledge that he was
still living, and that the ghastly hue of his face was
taintness, and not death.
" What is the matter, dear mamma ?" asked Helena,
" Your brother has had a fall from a tree, and broken
his arm, love, but papa has set it, and I hope he will do
very well presently ; he is faint now, but he will be better
soon, won't you, my boy ?" and the mother stooped
down, and kissed the boy's white cheek.
"Yes," said his father, who had been feeling his
pulse, and looked agitated and upset himself, " he will
do presently. Give him half a glass of wine, and let
him be quite quiefc with only one person."
" I will stay with him," said his mother. "Yes, I would
rather, dear," she persisted; "you can send me some
luncheon up here."
" Well, you shall stay for the present, but you are not
to remain here all day ; Helena must relieve guard," said
" Oh, yes, of course. Poor Arthur !" and Helena
went up and kissed her brother gently.
"I will stay now, if mamma will let me."
"No ; in an hour's time we shall see how he is," said
her father. " Let mamma stay."
" Quiet is indispensable. Leave ine alone with him
now, dear, and I will be sure to ring if I want anything ;"
and so they left the mother in that post which, alas ! was
a natural one to her, watching by a child's sick bed.
Oh ! how can children sufficiently love and repay
their parents for their love and devotion to them ; and
yet, how often are the little acts of self-denial, the little
giving up of their own whims and fancies, which are
not in accordance with their father's and mother's, sub-
jects for gloomy looks and discontented murmurs ; how
little remembered the long years of self-devotion which
the mother has gone through for them, the setting aside
her own ease and comfort, and amusement, to minister
to their wants, to multiply their enjoyments. Surely,
it is but small payment to give up cheerfully some
matter which can be of no real moment, especially as
it is very rare but that the opposition is given for ail
excellent reason, and because in some way or other it
will militate against the good or happiness of the child
himself. As Helena went to h^r own room to prepara
for luncheon, some thought of this kind crossed her
mind. Could she ask leave to dir.e at Mrs. Hamilton's,
now, with this trouble in the house? and yet, how
dreadfully disappointed her friend would be. What was
to be done ? She certainly must send her a note, and
say she could not possibly come, and send her some
books to read, to amuoe her long 1 evening. Accordingly,
immediately after luncheon, she despatched Esther with
her Kttle note, and a bundle of books, and went up to
take her turn by her brother. He was asleep, so Mrs.
Foster, who had of course been much alarmed at the
accident, and being anything but strong, thought it better
to allow Helena to take her place, while she went to lie
down in the quiet of her own room, particularly as she
intended to sit up with the boy in case of fever coming
on. As Helena sat there, her class at school suddenly
occurred to her; they would be all waiting, doing nothing,
for she had told the mistress that if she did not come in
the morning she should be sure to be there in ihe after-
noon, and the children were not to be employed on any-
thing else. She must send, but whom ? Esther was gone
to Mrs. Hamilton's ; could her brother George go ? and
dare she leave Arthur whilst she went to ask ? She
would not be gone a moment ; if she could not find him.
she would return, and the children must take their
chance. It was the first time she had failed since she
had undertaken it, surely no one could blame her ; so
opening the door very softly, she crept gently, but
quickly down stairs, and looked into a small room, given
up for the boys to amuse themselves in when they were
at home, with turning lathe, etc. ; but no George was
there. Quickly she hurried through the glass doors which
led into the garden to the stable-yard, he might be there
feeding his dog ; but no, lie was not there. The boy
employed in the garden was weeding a path close by
the yard, she would send him. Running quickly to
him, she said, "John, go instantly to the school, and tell
Mrs. Marty n Master Arthur has met with an accident,
and I can't come to-day. She must give the girls in my
class something to do."
" Master said as I was to bide here, Miss, as mayhap
he should want me by and by, arid I wasn't to be out
" But somebody must go, John, and I have no one
else to send ; if you can find Master George it will do
as well, but one of you must go. I cannot stay a
minute, I am watching Master Arthur. Oh! there is
George, I will send him myself, never mind John," and
flying up the garden path, she called her brother eagerly;
he turned as he heard his name, and came back to meet
her. She told him what she wanted.
"I do not know if I can go, really," he said. " Papa
has just said he has important business at Westrop, and
as he does not want to be gone long he shall drive, and
I am to go with him to see to the pony, while he is
engaged. I don't like to be out of the way when he
"Papa seems to have employed everybody," said
Helena impatiently ; " John says he cannot go, because
his master said he might want him. He can't want you
" I don't know anything about that, but I certainly
should not like him to be calling me about the place,
just as he is ready to start, and I not to be found."
" It wouldn't take you five minutes ; you might
" Well, look here," said George, calling after her as
she was turning disappointedly away, " I'll find pa, and
ask him how long he'll be before he's ready, and then,
; there's time, I'll go, or get his leave to send John."
Compelled to be content with her brother's sug-
gestion, Helena returned to the house, and just as she
entered it she met Esther, bearing in her hand a
strongly-perfumed note from Mrs. Hamilton.
" Oh, you need not have waited for an answer,
Esther. Did you see her ?"
" No, miss ; you did not say I was not to wait ; but
I thought I had better, and Mrs. Hamilton sent down
word if I would sit down she would write."
Slowly ascending the stairs, reading her letter as
she went, Helena returned to her brother's room. It
ran as follows :
" MY PRETTY OXE, I am so sorry not to see you, and
grieved for the cause. I trust the poor boy will go on
well, that I may not long be deprived of the sunshine of
your presence. Remember, I have nothing else in the
world to love or value. You must try and come to me
to-morrow, if only for ten minutes ; even with his broken
arm I envy your brother. He has a loving father and
mother to watch beside him, to cheer him with loving
words and looks ; with me the weary days go on, and
greedy hirelings, serving me for what they can get out of
me, are all I see. Your innocent love is the first
gleam of sunshine which has shone on my path for
years ; the clouds must not long hide it ; but I am
sure you will come as soon as you can to your most
affectionate "A. H."
As she raised her head from the letter to open softly
the door of her brother's room, she saw it was open
HELENA S DUTIES.
and her father was standing there with a grave and
" Really, Helena, I could scarcely have expected this
of you, that you could not even stay a little while with
" Papa, I have not been gone ten minutes, and he
was asleep when I went down."
" Yes, and woke of course meanwhile, and could no\.
get the drink he wanted for his poor parched mouth,
because his nurse was absent. You might have had the
thought, at least, to ring for a servant to remain with
him till your return."
"Never mind, father dear," said the poor boy
kindly, seeing his sister's look of distress, "I am all
right now ; and I do not at all mind being alone, if
Helena will put the things in my reach that I want."
" I do not wish to leave you any more, Arthur dear ;
I only went to send a message up the street."
" Then now oblige me, Helena, by not leaving him
any more till his mother returns to him," said her
father. " I suppose some parish business called you
away. I must have a stop put to this nonsense."
And so saying, Dr. Foster walked out of the room,
and Helena sat down where her brother could not see
her face, and indulged herself with what is commonly
called " a good cry," she felt so hardly used. She who
was always trying to be useful, was always getting
scolded and rebuked for what she was sure most persons
would consider quite exemplary. Instead of leading a
life of young lady idleness, she was always employed
in works of charity teaching in the schools, working
for the poor, reading to the old women, and getting
places for the young. But " never mind," she thought,
HELENA S DUTIES.
as the tears, in spite of her efforts now to stop them,
coursed each other down her cheeks. Everything good
in this world met with opposition, and the more merit
rt was in her to persevere. The right road was always
a difficult one, and so she would go on, hoping that at
last her reward would come.
" Helena, are you crying ?" at length her brother
asked, for he fancied that he heard a low sob. "~Whnt
is the matter?"
Drying her eyes, Helena rose, and went to him.
" Nothing much ; I only thought papa unjust.
Don't mind me ; go to sleep again, Arthur dear. Shall
I read to you ?"
" Thank you, I think I should like that. I had just
begun 'Mary of Burgundy;' it seems such a jolly book.
It's on there," he said, pointing to the chest of drawers.
:; But don't be unhappy, papa often speaks sharply ;
but he doesn't mean anything, and he was worried
" Oh, it's all over now ; it was only for the moment."
And Helena got the book, and sat down by her brother
She had not read many pages before he was again
asleep, and putting down her book, Helena stole softly
to the window, and put her head out to breathe the
soft, pleasant summer air.
This room looked out on the pretty garden, over
the lawn bright with clumps of flowers arranged in
rustic baskets, divided by a "ha-ha" from the green
meadow beyond, across which a path lay to the village,
the old ivied tower of the church soaring above the
trecr, showing in which direction the village lay. Be-
yond were ranges of hills, nestled by the sides of which
HELENA S DUTIES.
were ofclier sung villages and homesteads ; and on clear
evenings the towers of the grand old cathedral could
be seen, telling of the far-off town, with all its hurry,
and business, and excitement, so contrasted with the
quiet monotony of the neighbouring villages.
Helena leaned out, looking at all this, hearing the
pleasant sound of children's voices in the distant village
street, and the lowing of cattle, and loud cackling of
poultry from a neighbouring farm ; but her thoughts
were not with these peaceful sights and sounds. She
had not got over her grievance the feeling that her
father had wronged her, and been unjust to her. Her
name called softly below the window first aroused her;
she looked down ; it was Walter.
" How is Arthur? Is he Asleep ?" he asked.
"Yes he is," she answered, in the same low tone.
" You have heard of his accident."
" I have ; I am very sorry, but boys must go
through this sort of thing. I believe it is part of then-
education. I have seen your idol ; that is what I wanted
to tell you."
"My idol! who do you mean?" said Helena,
" Why, the beauty. I met a good-looking stranger,
most extensively got up, followed by a little white fluffy
dog, and she went into Bellevue Cottage, so it must
have been your friend."
" Oh yes, I daresay it was ; but I do not own to an
4 idol,' Walter.'*
" Don't you ? very well. Are you going to remain
up there ?"
" Yes, till mamma comes. Hush ! he's waking :"
and, leaving the window, she went to her brother's bed*
side. He had again awoke, for his arm was too painful
to allow of more than an uneasy doze.
Helena asked if she should read again, and her
brother saying he should much like it, she had just
recommenced, when a knock at the door interrupted
her. It was Esther, to say that a woman of the name
of Bradley wanted to see her, and would not send up
" Then you must stay, please, Esther, with Master
Arthur whilst I go down."
" Yes, Miss, certainly."
"I will be as quick as I can, Arthur, darling," and
Helena ran rapidly down-stairs to the hall, where a
slovenly woman stood waiting to see her.
"What can I do for you, Mrs. Bradley?" asked
" Why, Miss, Melia says as you met her down street
this morning, and went on at her sheamful about her
frock being wor out, and that you'd never do no more
for her, and a lot ; so I thought I'd come down and
hear the rights on't. My girl isn't no worse than others,
as I know, and sure it ain't no blame to her to help her
own mother. And for working about, and having only
one frock to her back, I don't see as how, considering
the time she's had it, you could expect it to look any
" Mrs. Bradley, I gave Amelia that frock to go to
service with for a Sunday one, she said she had one for
every day, and I am sure had she taken proper care of it,
it would have been quite decent still ; if the place was too
hard for her, she might have come and told me so, and
laid by her frock until she got a new sifc nation. Now,
if she had a place to-morrow, she isn't fit to go."
" But her other frocks, which was very ornary when
she took 'em, is wore completely out, she'd such a deal
of hard, dirty work to do, and so she's been obliged to
take this for week-a-days and Sundays. That's just
how such as we gets used. The ladies give one frock
or one pair of shoes to them as had none before,
and then wonder, two months after, they ain't as
good as new, when all along they've had nought else
" A little management, Mrs. Bradley, might make
frhem wear better, that's all we say, but it's no use
your losing your temper," said Helena, fast incurring the
same loss herself; "for I persist in what I say, that
Amelia has used her frock very badly ; that she ought
to have stayed in her place, and that I will have nothing
more to do with her. Good day, I can hear no more."
And she hurried away, waiting for no reply, for the
sound of wheels in the drive warned her of her father's
approach, and she dreaded his finding her engaged
again in "parish business," and away from the sick-
room, although this time she had left some one in
Poor Helena ! her troubles increased, for this woman
she had taken up against the advice of many, who had
told her she was hopelessly thriftless and dirty, and one
}f those persons whom no one could help, and as she
went up to her brother's room, she could not avoid
thinking of her father's words, "he had no faith in a
victim." She had befriended her because the woman
had told her every one was against her, and now it was
dawning on her that " the world's verdict" was not so
unjust a one as she had deemed it.
She had scarcely resumed her place by her brother,
HELENA S DUTIES.
when Esther came up again, and said the Miss Mantles*
vanted to know if she was going to the Dorcas meeting
that evening, and if she would call for them as she
" Oh, Esther, I can't possibly go, I forgot all about
it j but you must tell them about Master Arthur, and
say I cannot leave."
" Don't mind me, if you want to go, Helena," said
Arthur; " dear mamma will be at home."
" No, I should not think of being out to-night,
Arthur dear, thank you. No, give them thai: message,
Esther." And as the servant went to do her bidding,
Helena felt so thankful that she had refused to dine with
Mrs. Hamilton, and had such a much more laudable
excuse for not attending the meeting than that she had
forgotten it. Still she could not help acknowledging
to herself that had she not refused the dinner invitation
she should have liked to have gone to the meeting, and
was extremely annoyed that she could not. She had first
proposed that a number of young ladies should meet at
each others' houses once a week to work for the poor,
and was therefore looked upon as manager and direc-
tress, a post the little lady greatly admired, and it was
very vexatious to feel that some one else would this
evening be taking the lead. Engrossed in these thoughts,
she did not hear her brother call her in a low voice, and
ko her alarm, as a low moan struck at last on her inat-
tentive ear, she saw that he had fainted, and she flew to
her mother's room, and called her hurriedly, but it was
some time before their united exertions could restore
"What caused him to faint?" asked her mother;
"was he trying to move himself?"
" I don't know, mamma, I think not."
" Did he complain of faintness, or go off suddenly ?"
" Quite suddenly," said Helena.
"No, I felt faint a long time first, and called you
several times," said poor Arthur.
" Oh, Arthur, dearest, did you really ? I am sorry
indeed I never heard you."
" Well, never mind, love," said her mother, kissing
him gently, " I am come now, and shall leave you no
more till you are much better. J shall hear you."
Tears of vexation filled Helena's eyes, and she
turned away to conceal them.
"You can go down now, if you wish, Helena," said
her mother, as she established herself in the arm-chair
near her son's bedside.
" I do not wish to go, mamma," said Helena, in a
" Oh, yes, my dear," said her mother kindly, " sick-
rooms are not pleasant for young people. Go, dear, to
Walter and George ; I dare say they feel quite lonely
Helena rose, and without another word quietly left
the room, but the feeling of being aggrieved was stronger
than ever, and her heart turned with more love and
gratitude to that sweet, affectionate Mrs. Hamilton, who
thought everything she did right.
She sauntered with a listless air into the drawing-
room, hardly knowing in what way to employ herself.
All seemed distasteful to her that she was accustomed
to do. Her basket full of work, what was the use of
finishing it ? It was no use, no one would thank her
when it was done. Look at Mrs. Bradley, how she had
behaved to her; and she remembered how she had toiled
at that frock, putting away her drawing and all that
amused her to get it finished. A low voice seemed
at this moment to whisper in her ear, " and all that
amused others was put aside too. The drawing which
was to be a present to mamma, and the singing in the
evening which so amused papa, the games with Mr.
Leslie and her brothers, all were abandoned to make
that frock;" and strangely mingled with this whisper
were the words of Mr. Lee, " Your first duty is at
" A penny for your thoughts" were the words which
startled her from her reverie.
" Mine are never worth purchase, Mr. Leslie ; and
at that moment they were of no use to any one but the
owner, and not much perhaps to her.*'
" Thinking is a mistake, depend on it. What use is
it ? If we think of the past, we cannot recall it if we
" No, but it may teach us better for the future."
" Well, there is something in that certainly ; but
query, does it ever ? If we now were to take a great fancy
to any one, and find out that they were everything that
was bad, would the remembrance of that prevent our
taking a fancy to any one again, or rather, make us
more cautious as to whom we did make our bosom
Helena looked up with a quick glance at Leslie.
" What do you mean ?"
" What I say," he answered, smiling, " as I always
. " I don't quite understand you, but I think you had
some meaning for your last speech."
" Well, I kope I always have."
" Now, don't be provoking, Walter. I mean I think
you. were alluding to my interest in Mrs. Hamilton, but
I can assure you it would take a great deal to persuade
me that she could have the least shadow of bad about her ;
and if I was once convinced she had, I would never
love any one again. It would effectually break me
of the folly, if it is one, of believing in any human
" How old are you ?" said Leslie, smiling ; " a whole
seventeen, are you not ?"
" I do not see that that has anything to do with
what we are saying, unless you mean that I am too
young to know my own mind, but I am not."
" And you have made up that said mind to believe
implicitly in the perfect goodness of Mrs. Hamilton ?"
" Yes, as far as human beings can be perfect
Have papa and George come in ?"
" I think not."
" I fancied I heard them long ago."
" It was a carriage," answered Leslie, " with some one
to inquire after Arthur, I think. Oh ! dear me, I think
living 's a very stupid affair," he continued, fling-
ing himself on the couch. " There's nothing on earth
" Oh ! Walter, what a speech. There is plenty to
do when one has the heart to do it, and men have always
occupation, or can have."
" Well, I don't know ; I have'nt the slightest idea
how to employ myself; suggest something."
" For the present, or for a permanency ?"
" Either, or both."
" Then if I were you I should make up my mind to
? profession, and commence now to study for it."
" Helena, do you call that helping a fellow out ? If
I could choose a profession, I should be all right. The
law is abominable, physic I detest, for divinity I am. not
good enough. I have no wish to slaughter my fellow-
creatures and become a soldier, or pass my life tossing
about on the seas as a sailor ; and so, as I said before, I
think living a stupid affair.'*
" Oh ! you will not always think so, I hope. What
does Longfellow say ?
" ' Lives of great men all remind us
We may make our lives sublime. '
Men have many a glorious opportunity of doing so. It
is only we poor women folk who can do nothing that is
grand or heroic."
" What a mistake !" said a voice behind her; and
starting round, Helena saw Mr. Lee, who had entered
unobserved, and overheard her last speech.
Helena, blushing and smiling, said
" Oh ! Mr. Lee, how you startled me !"
" You startled me with your assertion," he answered,
smiling, and laying his hand kindly on her shining
hair. " I think I could tell you many a tale of woman's
heroism that would astonish you."
" Could you, Mr. Lee ? A woman seems to have
no opportunity of being heroic."
" It depends greatly on what you call heroic. There
is to me a greater and a truer heroism in the silent,
patient, cheerful endurance of daily cares and trials,
than in some fine act of bravery undertaken in a mo-
ment of great excitement. But all this time I am
not asking after poor Arthur, which was my object in
" He seems in very much pain, thank you, and very
" Poor boy ! But he'll be all right again, I hope,
" Oh ! yes, sir," said Leslie. " I tell my cousin that
such accidents are part of a boy's education, and fit
him, no doubt, for that hero he is some day to be.
" Doubtless, Mr. Leslie," said Mr. Lee ; " and now
I must tell yon," he continued, turning to Helena,
*' that I paid my visit to your new friend, and found
her a most elegant, agreeable person."
" Yes, isn't she, sir ? and so lovely."
"Yes, very handsome is more the word, I think."
" Did she tell you of her troubles ?"
" Oh ! yes ; she has been much ill-used, it seems,
poor lady, and full of misfortunes ; but I trust they will
all be for her good eventually ; trouble is intended so
Mr. Lee talked on for some time on this and other
subjects, and then took his leave. He had not been
gone long when a note was brought to Helena. The
strong perfume told her in an instant that it was from
She opened it with a glance at her father, who had
come in, and was seated in the arm-chair, reading the
newspaper. It was only three lines :
" Come to me directly. I must see you for a fev?
She looked up at the timepiece on the mantelshelf ;
it was just five They dined at six, and she had to
dress ; but still she thought she could get as far as that
and back in time.
" Who is your note from, Helena ? " asked her father.
" Mrs. Hamilton, papa. She wants to speak to me
for a moment. I shall have time just to run, I think."
" I don't know, I'm sure. I can only say I expect
you to be in time for dinner."
" Oh ! yes, papa, of course. I'll dress first, and then
I shall be sure to be right."
Dressing hurriedly, and throwing on a large cloak
and hat, she flew up the little village street, and soon
reached Bellevue Cottage. The door was open, so she
entered, and passed quickly up the stairs to her friend's
apartments, but paused suddenly, as a loud and angry
voice met her ear, using violent invectives against some
person or persons. Could that be the voice of her
gentle, lovely, and persecuted friend ? Was it possible !
Another person was in conversation with her, for
Helena could hear the much lower tones answering the
excited ones. She knocked at the sitting-room door,
but was obliged to repeat the knock twice before it was
heard, and the answer given to " come in."
Pacing up and down the small room, her face flushed
and stained with tears, Helena saw her friend, and
seated on the couch a woman plainly and neatly dressed,
like a respectable servant ; but to Helena's fancy, even
i'i that momentary glance, the expression of her face
v as an evil one.
Both stopped speaking as Helena entered; and Mrs.
Hamilton, holding out her hand, said
" Good child to come. I knew you would. I am full
of trouble, and you must help me, if you can and will."
"Most certainly I will, if I can."
" Sit down and hear me. This good body," she
said, pointing to her visitor, "was a maid of mine
years ago, and lias been the only true friend I have ever
known, though how long she will remain so there is no
" Oh, madam," interrupted the woman, " I am
" Well, never mind your protestations now ; let me
tell this dear child my new trouble This woman, Mrs
Bolton by name, Helena love, has come from London,
most kindly, to put me on my guard against a threat-
ened misfortune. The fact is, I may as well at once tell
you, my husband is not dead, as I led you to believe ; I
wished it to be supposed so for many reasons not neces-
sary to mention now. We agreed to separate to lead
lives apart, for our tempers and dispositions were too ill
assorted ever to be happy together ; but for the last two
years he has taken it into his head that he would like
me to return to him, but nothing will induce me to do
so. I despise him beyond all created beings, and never
will I live again under the same roof with him. Since
I became aware of his wish I have changed my name,
and kept my residence a secret from all but this faithful
creature. Yesterday, by some means, he discovered her
address, and sought to induce her to reveal mine. He
had in some manner got information that I was in this
county, but the name of the village he did not know,
nor my assumed name ; still the fact that he is as near
the truth as the county, terrifies me, and I cannot re-
main here in peace another night. Now, my idea is to
return to London ; but if I do so, how are my apart-
ments here to be paid for. The paltry sum which he
allows me, after spending all my own money, is not due
for another six weeks. Now, could you, dear child, help
me to pay it ? and I would sign a paper empowering
yon to draw my quarter's money, pay yourself, and for-
trard the balance to Mr. Bolton.
Overpoweringly astounded at this unexpected reve-
lation, Helena could scarcely collect her senses to reply ;
to her innocent mind the whole thing seemed so terrible
parted from her husband, her husband still living,
when she had affirmed him dead ; speaking uf him whom
she had sworn before God to love, honour, and obey, as
the person whom she despised beyond all others on
earth ; it seemed too dreadful, but at length she found
words to say
"* I do not know if I have montiy enough of my
" But your father, my dear child, when he knows the
circumstances of the case, will, I am sure, assist me. Go
home and ask him, like a dear love, and be here again
by nine to-morrow. I shall leave by the ten o'clock
train. Oh, was there ever on earth a being so wretched ?
Nowhere can I find peace;'' and flinging herself into a
chair, she sobbed passionately.
This was too much for Helena's kindly nature, and
though the moment before she was going to say she
dared not ask her father, she had not now the heart to
do so, and going gently to her, she pressed her lips on
her burning forehead, and said
" Indeed, dear Mrs. Hamilton, I will do all I can for
fou; I must go now, or papa will be waiting dinner; ~i
will be here in time to-morrow."
" God bless and thank you, darling," said Mrs.
Hamilton, kissing her fondly, and then, more worried
and disturbed than she had ever been in her young life
before, Helena left the cottage.
She was only just in time for dinner ; it was being
HELENA S DUTIES.
placed on the table as she entered ; still she was there,
and took her mother's vacant place at the head of the
table. Very silent she was too all dinner her thoughts
full of one unpleasant subject, the most harassing part
being the dread of appealing to her father to lend the
money, which, she felt almost sure, he would object to.
As soon as dinner was ended, and she could get away
from the room, she went to her own to see how large a
sum she possessed. It was some time since she had
looked into the little purse she kept for charitable
purposes, and she hoped that with the money she had in
hand she might manage to have enough to pay a week's
lodging, if that was all. To her delight she found alto-
gether she could collect three pounds ; so determining
to take that with her in the morning when she went
to her friend, she returned to the drawing-room, in much
better spirits, though still afraid that her father would
every minute ask her what Mrs. Hamilton wanted with
her, and she felt most unwilling to mention the painful
revelation she had heard ; but luckily her father seemed
utterly to have forgotten tho subject, and shortly left the
room, to sit with Arthur and mamma, he said, and that
she must entertain "the boys."
As soon as the door had closed on him, Leslie threw
down the paper he was reading, and said
" I have been thinking positively, although I only a
few hours ago said it was a waste of time thinking of
what yom said so much that I am actually going to-
morrow to London to be useful to some one; very
useful, I hope, and I trust that the sensation of being
so will be so agreeable to me, that I shall endeavour for
the future to be an active member of society, and not
like 'dumb driven cattle,' but a hero in the strife.
Shall you be proud of having first raised me from my
" Very proud, Walter. I think every one can, and
ought to be, useful in some way or other."
" Exactly, and you would think it useful to open the
eyes of a person to the demerits of another. I mean
to prevent some one from being carried away by her
warmth of feeling, to waste her affections on an unde-
Helena looked up quickly at him.
" Yes, I should think it very useful, but what do you
" I mean that in that manner I am about to make
myself useful ; that I am going to spare no pains to
prevent a warm-hearted, enthusiastic person involving
herself in countless annoyances and difficulties through
her misapprehension of the character of another."
Helena made no answer, for she felt that she was
aware of his meaning, and she was not so thoroughly
prepared to defend her friend as before her last inter-
view. At that moment George's request for some kind
of amusement enabled her to drop the subject, and going
to the piano, she played and sang to them for the rest
of the evening.
In the morning, when Esther came to call her, she
told her that Arthur had passed a very bad night, and
was very feverish, but that he was now dozing, and
Mrs. Foster would rather she did not come in till she
rang, for fear of waking him ; so dressing quickly, she
thought she would at once go down to Bellevue, and be
back in time for prayers and breakfast.
Mrs. Hamilton was not up, Mrs. Cramp said, when
Helena arrived, breathless with running, at the cottage :
she would ask if she would see her, if Miss Leslie would
walk in. Some time elapsed, and Helena sat on thorns,
for no one knew at home where she was, and she dreaded
being late. A.t length the maid came to request she would
go up-stairs, where she found Mrs. Hamilton in bed, her
beautiful hair tossed loosely on the pillow, her face flushed,
and her eyes looking bright with fever.
" Oh ! my dear child," she exclaimed, " I am so ill ;
how I am to travel I know not. And yet I cannot rest
here, go I must. Have you got the money ?"
"1 have some," answered Helena; "how much do
you want ?"
"Well, not much. Now T think I ought to give
this woman a fortnight's pay for the disappointment,
that will be four guineas ; and then the little house-
keeping will amount to a trifle more. She will tell you
how much, if like a dear child you will go down and
settle with her."
"But the rooms were only hired by the week. I
think she will be satisfied with a week's pay," said
poor Helena ; " for I really have only three pounds I
can lend you."
" Oh ! my dear, I cannot be shabby to the woman.
Have you asked your father to assist me ?"
" No," answered Helena, blushing. " I did not
think he would like it, and I preferred doing all I could
" Surely he wouldn't have scrupled to lend me a
paltry sovereign or two ; but I can manage with what
you can do, I daresay. You say you have three pounds.
Then here," she said, drawing a very handsome purse
from under her pillow, " are three more. That will pay
me out here, I hope, and leave me enough to get to
HELENA S DUTIES.
London ; when there, that good Bolton will help me,
nntil my grand quarter's allowance is due. Go down
at once, and see the woman. I cannot go by the next
train; I really am not well enough, but by the 12.20.
Tell her I shall go. You must say, love, important
business compels me to alter my mind, and return to
London. Dear child, you are my guardian angel."
Helena, not particularly relishing her commission,
went, however, at once. As she expected, Mrs. Cramp
was much disappointed, but was satisfied with the pay-
ment, only she hoped the lady would pay for the papers
she had ordered for the two rooms, having got them
purposely for her, and she had requested they might be
got at once, as she could not live in such rooms. She
had asked to be allowed to choose the patterns, and had
of course selected the most expensive, so that poor
Helena found she had nothing remaining of the six
pounds. Her only three were gone, all the money she
had ; but still that was a thousand times better than
asking her father. It was only her own inconvenience,
and the loss of any little thing she might want to pur-
chase between this and her next quarter ; and so she
returned to her friend's room to wish her good-bye, and
hurry home. She was just in time ; the prayer-bell was
ringing as she entered the house. She flew up-stairs,
threw her hat and cloak and empty purse on the bed,
and with a sigh of relief descended to the dining-room.
As she did so the thought suddenly occurred to her that
she had received no paper empowering her to receive
Mrs. Hamilton's money, and so pay herself, as she had
proposed ; but still it was well she had not, for was it
not like doubting her ? Of course she would repay her
when she could ; so she was glad after all she had not
got it, and satisfied herself with the thought that if she
were never paid she had at least been of use to one who
so much needed kindness. During breakfast she ma-
naged to impart the news of Mrs. Hamilton's hasty
resolve to leave for London, but she did not like to give
the real reason, so evaded it by saying, " Family affairs
obliged her." A strange smile passed ever Mr. Leslie's
face as she spoke, and she noticed that he and her father
" I too, you know, am bound for London," he said.
"Perhaps I may have the pleasure of travelling with
your delightful friend."
" Very possibly, if you go by the same train. Have
you finished breakfast, papa?" she continued, anxioas
to avoid any further conversation.
" Yes, quite ; go and see how Arthur is now."
" Is he awake ?"
" Yes, the prayer-bell woke him. I forgot to forbid
their ringing, foolishly."
Helena left the room at once, glad to escape, and
her father and Mr. Leslie remained in earnest con-
versation, until it was time for the latter to betake him-
self to the station.
All that day Helena found it difficult to employ
herself. It was a great blank to her, the absence of the
person in whom she had so warmly interested herself.
Her mother preferred nursing Arthur herself, so she had
nothing to do in the sick-room, and at length she
determined to go to the school and see how the mistress
had managed with her class the day she was absent.
On her way she met the Miss Mantles, who said they
were just coming to see her; they had had a most
successful meeting the other night, better than ever,
rffiLENA S DUTIES.
and they were now out collecting subscriptions for
material ; could she pay hers then, or should they call for
it. Helena's colour mounted to her hair, she had utterly
forgotten the subscription was due, and she had given
her last penny to Mrs. Hamilton; however, she summoned
courage to say it would be more convenient the following
week, and that now she was in haste to get to school
before it closed, and merely wished them good-bye.
Just as she reached the school door, she met her
father and Mr. Lee, arm-in-arm, and apparently in ear-
nest conversation, but she took no particular notice of
the occurrence, as she knew her father frequently gave
his advice to Mr. Lee when he asked him, on matters
connected with the health of the parish, and concluded
it was some subject of draining or ventilation which
now occupied them ; they nodded to her, and she passed
on into the school. On her return home about an hour
afterwards she again saw Mr. Lee, alone, about to enter
their house. He stopped when he saw her, and said as
she came up with him
" I was coming to see you, are you going in ?"
"Yes, I am," answered Helena, wonderingly.
" I will follow you," and opening the gate for her to
pass through, 'he followed her up the little drive to the
She showed him into the dining-room, and handing
her a chair he begged her to be seated, as he had a word
or two to say to her.
" I am afraid," he began, smiling kindly at her, "that
I am going to make you think me very ungrateful.
Since my ministration in this parish you have been
most kind, and striven hard to assi*fc me in my labours,
which I have deemed highly praiseworthy in so young
a lady as yourself, and I am now about to ask you
to discontinue them. Papa and I have been having a
long talk, and he tells me that when I found a curate, he
lost a daughter. Now, my dear child," continued the
old man, " this must not be ; the old saying of ' Charity
begins at home,' has a deep and serious meaning : the
love and forbearance of that truly Christian virtue is to
be shown most fully in our own homes, and there it
must lead us to be useful, cheerful, and obedient ; ' believ-
ing all things, enduring all things, hoping all things.'
When every duty has been there fulfilled, it is a good
and Christian duty to help and assist your poorer neigh-
bours, but never must the one act of duty be done at
the sacrifice of the other. You are very young, and
your judgment is not sufficiently matured, nor your
capability of arranging a variety of business great
enough to enable you to do anything of great importance
in a parish, and all that is required of you at home a,s
well. You must try, my child, to content yourself with
the duties which God has distinctly placed before you,
and not make them for yourself ; as I said the other
day, there are indeed quiet heroines in their peaceful
homes, working for God and the cause of righteousness
with more true zeal and devotion than those who busy
themselves in the world, and whose good works are seen
of man. The gratification of our own vanity too often
leads us to occupy ourselves in matters which really do
not need our assistance, to the neglect of those minor
duties of which the world knows nothing, and which we
should get no credit for ful filling. If when all that is
required of you at home is done, you can find time to
make a frock for some poor little child, or give an hour
or two in the week to read to some poor ignorant or
sightless old body, you will be doing real good, and as
your amiable nature makes it a pleasant occupation to
you, you will have the satisfaction of combining pleasure
and duty ; but indeed, my dear young lady, I would re-
commend your resolutely determining to fulfil all home
As he paused, Helena thought for a reply ; she said
in a low voice, " But I have no home duties : mamma
" Exactly, but ought mamma to do everything ? For-
give my plain speaking : should not a willing, loving
little daughter take from mamma the burden of house-
hold affairs, and, above all, home duties which lie so
especially in a girl's province and which are so often
neglected, helping to brighten the home and make it a
happy one to all its members ? How often have I seenin the
home circle, parents and brothers asking their girls to play
or sing, and meeting always the unkind denial, when, had
strangers been there, they would have taken the utmost
pains to display their talents for the amusement of their
visitors. Surely those who have paid for their children's
education should be those the most to profit by it."
"Do you think, then," said poor Helena, with diffi-
culty restraining tears of vexation, " that I ought to
give up my school class, and the Dorcas meeting, and
the old women !"
" I would give up all, certainly, that interfered with
Lome. You see you are not called to this work ; you
are not wife, daughter, or sister of a clergyman, and
therefore it does not become part of your duty for
which special time must be provided. If you have
leisure, and it can be so profitably employed as in serv-
ing others, no one for one moment would forbid itj
HELENA S DUTIES
only the higher claim of duty to your parents must first
be attended to. I am always most unwilling to baulk
good intentions, or throw cold water on any act of
benevolence ; but if each individual in a parish would
take care of those persons they employ, they would find
enough to do themselves, and save the necessity for a
great deal of work for others, and by confiding to the
clergyman's care such money as they can afford to give
away in alms, much encouragement of undeserving per-
sons would be spared, and the worthy obtain, in con-
sequence, more support. To administer assistance
judiciously is, I assure you, one of the most difficult
things to do, and wonderfully little understood by those
most anxious to do it. Now I know I have distressed
and disappointed you, and it is among a clergyman's
many trying duties, that of rebuking ; but you know it
is his duty, however unpleasant. I believe that you
will, after I am gone, think kindly of what I have said,
and perceive, however it may vex you now, with what
affectionate interest in your well-being I have thus
spoken to you. On considering the matter, I think you
will find that you can manage still some of your self-
imposed tasks, and not have to resign all which so
interests you. Suppose you keep Betty Hooker, now,"
he said, smiling somewhat archly, as he knew the visi
tations to the said Betty had been discontinued rather
lately "a cheerful young face, with fresh, bright
ideas, really is a benefit to her, with her gloomy, fretful
disposition and your school class twice a week. I
think your leisure will then be quite filled up, and you
will give yourself time to be the sunshine of a home
which God has seen fit to visit with many clouds.
Now, I will say no more. You will not quite hate me,
will you? But, forgive me if I have fulfilled my
Helena could not answer, but she shook the hand
held out to her very heartily ; and when the door closed
on the good vicar, flew to her own room to weep out
there her sorrow and vexation.
The following morning's post brought her a letter
from Mrs. Hamilton, full of professions of affection, and
how she missed her, etc. That good creature, Bolton, had
procured charming apartments for her in the neighbour-
hood of the Regent's Park, and where she hoped Helena,
as soon as her brother was well, would come and cheer
her solitude; but not one word of the three pounds.
And with a sigh, Helena laid the letter down, and
her thoughts recurred to what Leslie had said, and to the
purpose of his journey to London.
He returned by a late train that evening, but he
made no mention of Mrs. Hamilton, neither did Helena.
Her father had not alluded to Mr. Lee's visit, nor did
she to him. She had, as he had said she would, thought
over his conversation, and her conscience had borne such
testimony to the truth of his words that she had resolved
to take up a new course of action altogether, and during
that day had busied herself about the house as she had
never done before, and, moreover, taken up the table
linen, which was laid aside when Arthur met with his
accident, and worked at it so diligently as almost to
finish it, besides sitting for two hours with Arthur whilst
her mother lay down. The frocks and flannels she had
been so busily engaged on for the poor she had packed
up with a letter to Miss Mantle, offering them to her
as her subscription to the Dorcas Society, and had
requested her to undertake the management, as she
could not herself be longer spared from home ; so that
night Helena laid her head on her pillow in proud con-
sciousness of having done her duty, and performed an
act of self-sacrifice, which purchased for ^er that best of
all rewards, a peaceful and satisfied conscience.
The next morning Arthur was pronounced so much
better that he might be allowed to come down ; and
Helena worked with a good will, to have everything
comfortable for his reception, fresh flowers cut, and
everything looking a bright and cheerful welcome. His
sweet smile of thanks she could not but acknowledge
was cheaply purchased.
She had gone, after luncheon, onto the lawn with her
work, for it was very warm and fine, and the shadow
beneath the trees looked tempting ; but she had not been
seated long when Mr. Leslie joined her.
"It is very pleasant out here, is it not?" he said;
" just the place and time for a story. May I tell you
one whilst you work ?"
" Certainly ; I should like it of all things," answered
" Well, we will begin in the good old style. Once
upon a time there lived in an old country town a lady
and gentleman, with one little girl. She was beautiful
and intelligent, and an only child. The consequence
which too often results from this combination was, that
they spoilt her, and with all her fascination she grew up
a selfish, headstrong, wilful girl, but beautiful beyond
compare, so that she found it no difficulty to make
slaves of all who came in her way. She was singularly
clover, bnt would apply herself to no study, so that at
seventeen she could neither read, write, nor spell pro-
perly. At that time she lost both her parents within a
few months of each other, and was left to the care of
her only remaining relative, an uncle, a fox-hunting
squire, and a bachelor, her father's executor and trustee
for her property. He, fascinated by her beauty, and
charmed with her engaging manners, continued the
system of unlimited indulgence, and a wild, happy life
she led there, seldom seeing any female society, but
thrown amongst a lot of hunting men, who found the
house more than ever agreeable since it was tenanted
by the young beauty. One amongst them, superior to
the others in looks and acquirements, she especially
favoured, but soon found how deficient she was in the
intelligence which would render her a fit companion for
him, and with the strong determination of her character
HELENA 8 DUTIES.
set to -work to study, and before a twelvemonth was
ended had mastered all difficulties, and was as fair a
scholar as any young lady of her age. Sir Everard
Crosby, the young man for whom she had thus exerted
herself, soon perceived the impression he had made, and
knowing she had money, which would, he thought, be
useful to him, he proposed to her and married her,
caring not nearly so much for her as his favourite
hunter. The uncle remonstrated witn her, and advised
her warmly not to dream of marrying a man who was
thoroughly unprincipled, and had nothing to recommend
him but a good manner and a certain amount of learning,
which he had the tact to make appear very profound ;
but it was too late in the day to attempt to control the
headstrong imperious beauty. They were married 9
and the anticipated results followed ; the reckless
spending of all her money by her husband, and his
consequent neglect and ill-usage : her temper, unaccus-
tomed to be restrained, grew daily wilder and more
ungovernable, till, ashamed of the scenes she would even
make in public, he suggested a separate maintenance.
This was agreed to, and she returned to her uncle ; but
disappointment and vexation had so soured her, that a
wild ungovernable temper made the poor old man so
wretched he was forced to request her to leave him.
She had one little girl, a sweet, gentle, delicate child,
whom she certainly idolized, but had no idea how to
manage or care for it ; and a kind, affectionate widow
lady in the neighbourhood, living alone on a handsome
property, offered her a home with her, out of compassion
to the sad large eyes of the child, which had always
seemed to look pleadingly up in her gentle face for
refuge from her violent though adoring mother. Lady
Crosby accepted the offer with professions of over-
powering gratitude, and for a little while all went well ;
the gentle widow she spoke of as an angel, and with hei
she remained until death laid its hand en her poor child,
who in her last illness was patiently and tenderly nursed
by this good and Christian lady.
The little spirit had not long been gone to its rest
when the unhappy temper of the mother, roused
by a suggestion of her kind friend's that she should
make peace with and return to her husband, broke
out, and at once and indignantly she left the house,
startling with violent invectives the gentle being
who had so befriended her. From thence she went
abroad for some years, taking with her an artful de-
signing servant, whom the widow lady had discharged,
leaving behind debts contracted through the whole
town, which her true friend paid in the noblest way,
that no stain might rest on the name of her in whom
she had once been so interested, and who was the mother
of the little angel whose tender eyes had left their light
in her heart.
Recklessly generous, Lady Crosby took a fancy
abroad to a poor French family, whom she loaded
with benefits, till she became embarrassed herself, and
was obliged to write to England to borrow money to
pay her way home again. The money was lent to her
by by I may as well say, Miss Foster, for your face
tells me you know the heroine of my story by Lady
She has never repaid it, and since your visit there
last autumn Lady Crosby has quarrelled with her
for asking for it. Have I now your pardon for the
sceptical smiles which have offended you, and have I by
thus rudely tearing away the veil which shielded your
friend's faults, made you lose your faith in human
" How did you know all this ?" asked Helena, in a
" Why, a day or two before I came here, I went to
call on Lady Warrington, and she was full of a long
story, to which I paid but little attention at the time,
about some lady to whom she had lent money, and who
not only did not pay her, but had quarrelled with her
for asking to be paid. When I heard you speaking of
this beautiful, charming, and ill-used lady, whom you
had met at Lady Warrington's, my suspicions were' in-
stantly aroused, and I spoke to my uncle, suggesting
that I should go to town and ascertain for a fact whether
this was the lady of whom she had spoken, considering
that a ' dangerous and fascinating beauty,' as Lady
Warrington denominated her, was not a person for one
like my little enthusiastic cousin to be very intimate
with ; that she has had much sorrow, poor thing, there
can be no question ; but she has met with such unequalled
kindness from so many persons, that she ought to speak
well of her fellow-creatures, instead of bitterly and
hardly, as I hear she always does. I know, dear Helena,"
he said kindly, laying aside all jest as he spoke, "that I
have pained you very much ; but I hope you will forgive
me, for indeed it is to spare you more pain."
" I cannot but forgive," answered Helena, " what is
so kindly meant ; but I feel as though I should never
love, that is, believe again.'*
" I have no fear of so sad a result, Helena ; it will,
I hope, only act as a warning to you to be more cautious
in forming new friendships, or taking up people's causes.
HELENA S DUTIES.
I trnst we shall both profit by the lessons we have
taught each other." '
"Taught each other!" said Helena, wonderingly.
"Yes, Helena, much as I laugh at you, you really
have made me feel ashamed of myself as I have contrasted
your desire for usefulness and your active life with my
idle one ; and I am positively, after this holiday, going to
turn over a new leaf, and see if I can find the work
that there is for me to do, for I suppose I've got some
about the world somewhere."
" Yes," said Helena, sighing, " but it is difficult to
find the right work."
" Because we are apt to look for it too far ahead,"
said another voice joining in the conversation.
It was her father. He put his hand gently on her
shoulder, and looking kindly and tenderly in her sweet,
young face, continued
"A woman's duties are all very near her; they are
in every part of her home, and there it is her holy pro-
vince to be the better angel, the guide in all difficulties,
the consoler in all sorrows, the light that gladdens all ;
that is your work, my little maiden, here, in your old
father's home, and some day, perhaps, in a husband's."
Helena smiled through her tears, but said nothing ;
her heart was too full for words, but the lesson had
sunk deep, and though at first the house-work seemed
dull and irksome to her, and she missed the importance
which her self-imposed tasks had she fancied given her,
by degrees she learnt to rejoice in the tender smile of
thanks which her mother gave her for some little atten-
tion, or for the forethought which had saved her some
household care ; and at length she found that it was quite
possible to perform acts of kindness and deeds of Christian
charity to her poorer neighbours, without neglecting
what Mr. Lee had bid her remember was her first duty.
As she learnt to keep her father's house, and went about
with her keys, like a sober little matron, with a happy
smile on her bright face, and a proud consciousness that
store-room and linen-press were in perfect order, under
her rule and management, she was able to send soup to
the sick, and rolls of old linen, and many things, which,
knowing as she did the wants of the poor, she could
supply them with ; so that many a heartier blessing was
bestowed on her now than when she thought herself of
more importance, and carried with her, though scarcely
aware of it herself, a haughty manner, and a hard un-
loving mode of performing what she thought her duty,
so often acquired by those who make what should be done
in loving obedience, meekly and humbly for His sake,
who bade us care for His poor, a hard task, a mere
business, as they would buy or sell, or do any other
Months rolled on, and she heard nothing of Mrs
Hamilton, till one day a letter came from her with a
foreign post-mark, saying that, having found out Bolton
in an infamous attempt to defraud and deceive her, and
being still annoyed by her husband, thoroughly disgusted
with everything and everybody, she had left England
for ever. Not one word did she say of the three
pounds; but wound up with the assurance that
the solitary pleasure and recollection of England to her
would be the memory of her darling child, and of the
young, fresh, warm-hearted girl who had once loved and
befriended her. In after years, Helena frequently heard
of the beautiful and clever woman, who kept winning
friends by her fascination, and losing them by her
violence; and though in her memory there lingered
the sweet feeling of the old love she was quite willing
to agree with her father in his disbelief of " victims,"
and his assurance that those who complain of having no
friends have brought the fate upon themselves, and meris
the desertion they so sadly deplore.
"tfAIXT, YET PURSUING-"
BY P. M. PEAED.
WE lived in a tiny house in
Brussels; nij mother,
little Barbara, and I. What took us there was my
father's wish, when he felt his own health failing fast,
that my mother should be near some relations of his,
who, he hoped, would be a comfort to her in the time of
her lonely widowhood. He always said that his death
was near, though the doctors spoke much more favour-
ably, and his secret feeling was a true one, for a very
short time after we had settled into our new home he
died, and we were left alone as I said above. I have
often wondered since then how my mother survived the
shock; she had so clinging and affectionate a nature
that, once deprived of her support, it seemed as if she
must fall powerless to the earth : but the battle is not
always to the strong, and though, for a time she was
utterly prostrated, after a few months she recovered to
be what she was before. I was ten years old at the
time, and Barbara a baby of three. Probably we both
inherited more of my father's than my mother's natural
disposition, but well world it have been for me if I, who
had the blessing of his example and teaching, had let
them work in my heart, so that my character might
have resembled that to which his had been trained. I
can see now, and I have read it in the packet of letters
treasured so long in my mother's desk, and now my
precious inheritance, that he was by nature stern, un-
yielding, perhaps somewhat unsparing ; but this was so
softened by Christian charity that what rests most
deeply in my remembrance is his tenderness, his
patience, and his never-failing forbearance.
Our means were very small, and our abode very un-
pretending. It was a small house just outside the Port
de Schaerbeck, chosen on account of the cheapness of
living beyond the barriers; and, though my mother
sometimes complained of the unfashionable situation,
such of our friends as cared for us found no obstacle in
its remoteness, and for others it did not matter.
Besides, Brussels is such a compact little city, that
from each part of it you are within an easy reach of
everything. There are the Boulevards for those who
like them, and the pretty park at the end of the Rue
Royale, and the Allee Verte; and for longer rambles
Laeken,with the king's country palace, and the gleaming
white marble statue of Malibran in the cemetery, which
they have been obliged to wall up because the pea-
santry paid their devotions to it, under the belief that it
was a figure of the Virgin. These were our principal
walks, but Barbara and I often znada expeditions with
our friends beyond what my mother's strength could
That quaint little house, how vividly it conies before
me now ! so clean that Trinette, onr one servant^
would hardly even allow a speck of dust to rest upon
tho outside, and kept the pavement so spotless that we
might have eaten our dinner there: so small that my
mother used to say that when Barbara was grown up it
could not hold us all. Downstairs besides the kitchen
was the little salle, where our dinners were sent in daily
from a neighbouring cafe, and, because it was rather a
gloomy little apartment, we kept the windows filled,
Brussels fashion, with the brightest flowers our garden
could produce. Above this was a miniature double
drawing-room, which it was my mother's delight should
look as English as possible, and one great step in that
direction was taken by having a real open fire-place
instead of a suffocating stove : by its side was her bed-
room, and above were our little dormitories.
We grew up wild and but half educated, doing our
own wills, and finding our own pleasures : how bitterly
now do I regret those days and their fruits ! Had my
father been alive it would have been different ; but my
dear mother was so gentle and yielding that our impe-
tuous wills carried all before them, and it was enough
for us to have set our hearts upon anything to ensure
the accomplishment of even the wildest scheme. Of
course, being the eldest, I had some power in my hands
of controlling Barbara, but it was for little good that I
exercised it ; I loved her with a strong passionate love
which would have given up everything for her sake,
tuid, untutored as I was, all that I did was to watch
tliat she was never thwarted, and indulge all her whims.
The real suffering which my mother endured when full
of anxiety about our wild pranks, I believe I never in
the least realized ; though now I can remember her tears
one evening when it was Carnival time, and we had
taken it into our heads to remain at a house from which
we expected to have a good view of a torch-light pro-
cession. She had no idea as to where we were, and, I
believe, suffered agonies of terror lest we might have
been trampled down among the crowd.
There could hardly have been a worse training than
all this for two high-spirited girls like ourselves ; and
no good fruit could spring from such utter want of dis-
cipline, and selfish disregard for the wishes of others.
Perhaps the evil was aggravated by our foreign home ;
I think we had a sort of impression that away from
England and our relations we might do very much what
we pleased. I ought not to say " we," because Barbara
was too childish to be governed by such considerations
at the time I am going to tell you about ; but I have
always been so accustomed to identify her with myself,
that in looking back I lose sight of the difference in our
ages. There is no space here for me to give an account
of all the years of my life, and indeed I think my very
best friends would weary over their monotony ; but I
should like to tell you of one of the chief events in these
years, and I wish it because it seems to me that I
was not very different from other girls, and my expe-
riences may help them along the rough road which we
all have to travel.
At the time, then, when my story begins, I was
fourteen, and Barbara seven years old. She is very
pretty still, and I know will always remain so to my
eyes, but I can never make you understand how beau-
tiful she was as a child. Her forehead was not high, but
broad ; her eyes of the richest velvet brown, as dark as
they could be without melting into black. Prettiest of
all was the shape of her small head, and the golden
hair which rippled over it; hair which, even when
tossed and rumpled in the wildest disorder, could never
look rough. I was as proud of her beauty as my
mother was, and on this point I had the sense to keep
my admiration to myself, for I had the greatest possible
horror of my darling's growing up as vain and dress-
loving as many of the Belgian girls about us.
Our education was as unregulated as the rest of our
lives. Before my father died he had taught me as much
as his failing health would allow; I had, therefore, in
many things been well grounded, and my mind in some
measure drawn out. I had also, I believe, very fair
abilities, and when the fit was upon me, or I was pitted
against others of my own age, I could work both hard
and well ; but I was guided by no rule except that of
self-pleasing, and steadiness carried others to the front
who at first were far behind me in talent and powers
It may be supposed how Barbara's lessons fared
when they were committed to my superintendence,
because my mother did not feel herself strong enough to
undertake them. We made a pretence of them every
morning, the schoolroom being the little dining-room,
and Barbara's seat the floor, on which she curled her-
self up, her elbows on her knees, her chin on her hands,
and her bright eyes dancing with fun and mischief.
She was exceedingly backward in her reading, and
ought really to have worked away at such sentences as
MARGIE S REMEMBRANCES.
"A MAN WENT OUT FOR A WALK," but her fancies and my
educational theories despised these ancient and well-
beaten paths, and soared at once to higher flights of
literature. Generally I picked out the most amusing
portions of the Vicar of Wakefield, such as the ride to
Church, or the upset of the Miss Primrose's washes, and
Barbara scrambled through the very smallest parts of
nd left long words to me ; while I was called
upon,, in addition, to illustrate the comic parts with
sketches in pen and ink. Sometimes, if I was in an in-
ventive humour, and Barbara's doll made no pressing
claims upon her mistress, these readings took up the
whole of the time that was ostensibty allotted to lessons,
at others the Primrose family were voted dull, and a
spelling-lesson began, commonly to terminate in three
minutes with "You dear old tiresome Margie, what
pudding are we going to have to-day?" or, "Oh,
Margie, I am so tired, and I never get any holidays at
all !" according as fun or pathos was the feature of the
There was no great variety to be found in our days.
My mother's delicate health prevented our breakfasting
until late. In the middle of the day our tiny dinner
was brought in from the restaurant, and in the evening
Trinette's delicious coffee and light French rolls made
a meal, to which we still by courtesy gave the name of
tea. On Sunday mornings, at half-past eight, my
aunt, Madame Bidaut, took Barbara and me through
the long Rue Royale to the Place at the end, with the
statue of Godfrey de Bouillon in the middle of it, and
so down to the little English church. Before the after-
noon service, if my mother felt pretty well, she used
to go with us for one turn in the Park at the time
when most of our acquaintances congregated there, and
the alleys swarmed with gaily-dressed ladies. Since
then, how have I learned to prize the quiet hours of an
English Sunday !
Twice a week I went to a school for gymnastics, be-
cause it was thought that my long awkward figure
wanted improvement ; and I rather enjoyed the fun, as
being bold and daring I could venture upon fe&ts at
which the Belgian girls stared aghast. The only other
instruction I received was from Monsieur Larron, my
French drawing master; and he was the one person
who obliged me to mind what he said, and with whom
I could never be idle. He had the power of enforcing
attention, and I had fortunately so much love for draw-
ing, that I made considerable progress in the art. The
remainder of our days we spent very much as we
liked, sometimes going with my mother for a stroll
along the Boulevard, but more often rambling away by
ourselves in a way which my aunt, Madame Bidaut,
called " inexpressibly reprehensible !"
I am sorry to say that I could not bear my aunt,
and as I took no trouble to hide my dislike, it was not
to be expected that she should have very kindly feel-
ings towards me. She was my mother's half-sister, and
had married a Belgian doctor, and it was with the idea
that my mother would be happier at being near her
almost only surviving relation, that my father had moved
to Brussels. The young expect perfection, and are
generally uncharitable ; I could only see that side of
Aunt Elizabeth's character which was the most unat-
tractive, therefore, whenever we came into contact, we
jarred. She loved patronising, and I was terribly inde-
pendent. I hated her long talks with my mother be-
cause I thought she tyrannized over her, and I could
not bear any one to do that but myself. Besides which,
I knew that Barbara and I were usually the subjects of
these conversations, and that our faults were held up
to the light with a sternness that too often was very
just, but was also very unmerciful. Suggestions, there-
fore, which my mother would doubtingly put before
me, and which common sense alone would have induced
me to acknowledge as right, I resented and opposed
with all my might, just because they came from Aunt
She had a daughter, my cousin Pauline, only a year
older than myself; but this bond, which in our solitary
position should naturally have been a very close and
dear one, became unhappily only another cause for dis-
like. Panline was the person who was constantly held
up before me as both a pattern and a contrast. I was
plain, she was pretty ; I was untidy, she was neatness
itself; I was heedless, Pauline's head was never in
fault. My whole nature seemed full of uncomfortable
bumps and angles, which never presented themselves
to view in my steady cousin. I do not think that the
knowledge of these advantages excited any jealousy in
my mind. If I had been let alone to do so I should
most likely have acknowledged and heartily admired
them ; but my aunt was injudicious in constantly irri-
tating me with comparisons, and the natural conse-
quence followed. I disliked Pauline as much as her
mother, and when I heard the quick, hard step upon
the stairs, or caught the first glimpse of the striped
green silk in which I wickedly believed my aunt
arrayed herself when she wished most completely to
overwhelm my mother, I either fled or prepared myself
for battle, and behaved very badly in the encounter.
Doctor Bidaut I liked when we saw him, but that
was only occasionally of an evening, when he sat at a
little table with his own lamp and books, removed from
the rest of the party. I often found myself watching
his face. Thin, sallow, and grave though it was, there
was an expression of power about it which took my
girlish fancy; and although he seldom spoke, and
scarcely seemed one of us, I felt sure that Aunt Eliza-
beth was far less disagreeable in his presence. Fur-
thermore, he won all my gratitude one evening when
some comparison was made between me and Pauline
of course to my disadvantage by looking up and
saying quietly, " All have not the same qualities ;
Marguerite is not orderly like Pauline, but her talents
are far greater." I think this speech came upon his
wife like a thunderbolt. My dear mother was afraid
she was hurt and began disclaiming, but after that
night I was spared any more comparisons before Doctor
I have now as well as I can explained our position
in Brussels, and described the only relations with whom
we were then acquainted. Very soon the circle was to
become unexpectedly enlarged.
FOREIGN letters so rarely arrived at our house, that we
were a good deal excited when one winter evening
Trinette interrupted, our tea with a letter for " Ma-
dame." The English post marks and the English di-
rection to Mrs. Kelly raised our curiosity to its highest
pitch ; my mother was quite nervous, her cheeks flushed
with the soft pink tint that came as readily, as with a
child, and her hands trembled so much that she could
hardly break the seal. I never could understand this
painful nervousness which any surprise was apt to
cause, but put it down as only mamma's way, and now
longed greatly to know what news the letter contained ;
while Barbara scrambled on her knee and made a pre-
tence of reading its secrets and disclosing them to her
doll in an audible whisper, with particular commands
that she was on no account to tell.
" Oh, dear!" said my mother, looking up at last
a bewildered face, "this is very unexpected. I
don't quite know what we are to do, Margie, or how
we can manage. "Who would have thought of their
" What is it about ? Who are coming, mamma ?"
" Your nncle and aunt Henry. I can't quite make
out about it, and there are so many figures which I
don't understand, but it seems to me they may be here
any day. Dear, dear, where are they to go ?"
My mother disliked independent action so much,
that in the absence of other counsellors she was accus-
tomed to appeal to me as if I had been a much older
person ; so I took the letter, and made out that my
uncle and aunt, Mr. and Mrs. Cliff, were indeed coming
" It is on their way to see Frank at Bonn, mamma.
He has been ill, and they are not happy about him.
Let me see. Tuesday steamer Antwerp, 10.30
that must be to-morrow. Oh, yes, they mean to spend
all to-morrow at Antwerp, stop at Malines, and be here
on Wednesday at five. Mamma, do you see ? Robert
and Hester are coming too."
"The children!" exclaimed my mother, faintly.
" My dear love, where can they sleep ? I must really go
and speak to your Aunt Elizabeth."
"What for, mamma?" I said, jealously; "it is
quite easy to settle. Of course they can't come here,
because we have scarcely room for a fly ; but we can
get rooms for them at the Hotel de France."
" It seems so inhospitable," my mother hesitatingly
murmured ; " but I suppose it will be best, and perhaps
Aunt Elizabeth will help you to choose nice rooms."
" Now, mamma, don't let us have her poking about
and spoiling everything."
" Oh, Margie, Margie !"
But, as usual, I had my own way, and my mother
knocked herself up the next morning with a tramp
through the snowy streets, and up the never-ending
stairs of the hotel, besides giving offence to Aunt
Elizabeth, who came that afternoon, and found every-
thing arranged without her. We chose rooms over-
looking the Park, sent a letter to Antwerp to notify the
fact, and then awaited Thursday morning as quietly as
we could, which, with Barbara and me, was not quietly
at all. My mother was even more shy and nervous
than usual. She always dreaded strangers, bat Mr.
and Mrs. Cliff happened to be more formidable to her
than any others. They were my father's sister and
brother-in-law, and I believe his family showed such great
displeasure at his marriage with my dear mother, that he
had as much as possible shielded her from any contact
with them. Since his death they had contented them-
selves with quarterly letters and general expressions of
sympathy, which were intended to serve instead of more
substantial help to the widow and children ; until now
it was remembered that Margaret had a house in Brus-
sels, and that she really might be of some use. My
mother was so gentle and uncomplaining, that she had
never hinted before us at any want of kindness from
her husband's family. I sometimes wondered that we
never saw any of the cousins of whom my father spoke ;
but having never known another state of things, I sup-
posed it to be natural, and thought it was only Aunt
Elizabeth's general disagreeableness that made her sniff
and snort, and wonder what they came for on the
evening of Mr. and Mrs. Cliff's arrival.
After all our preparations, they took us by surprise
the next morning, when I was standing before my
mother, urging her with all my might to start for the
hotel, and she was hanging back from fear of being
thought intrusive. Our difficulties were soon settled,
for Barbara came flying in
" Robert and Hester are come, Margie, and Undo
Henry is so fat."
I hope Uncle Henry did not hear, for the next
moment they were in the room : my aunt fair, sub-
stantial, and majestic ; my uncle short and broad ; and
Hester and Robert light-haired, blue-eyed, thoroughly
British-looking children, rather younger than myself.
From what I can remember of the interview, Mr. and
Mrs. Cliff were bent upon being gracious, and I fancy
that my mother's gentle timidity pleased them exceed-
ingly, for everything was charming Brussels, the hotel,
the snow, Barbara and I, our rooms, everything down
to the faded old carpet with a patch in it, on which
always stood my mother's footstool.
" So nice," said my aunt, approvingly ; and my poor
mother looked round with a sigh at her shabby little
belongings, and said, " Tes, it all did well enough."
At last rose a discussion of the new-comers' plans
and of Frank's illness, and it appeared that in conse-
quence of letters received that morning, Mr. and Mrs.
Cliff found it necessary to push on without delay.
Then came a doubt about the dear children, and at last,
after several unsuccessful hints, the open expression of
a wish that dear Margaret would allow them to remain
with her during their absence in Germany.
My mother coloured, and looked appealingly at me ;
then said something gently about liking it so much,
only the house was very small.
" There is tlie little lumber-room," I suggested,
because I was burning with impatience at the i Jea of
any hindrances, and my aunt caught at the wordr.
Anything would do, they might be stowed away any-
where ; but it would be the greatest comfort, and such
an advantage to the dear children, to know each other
better. My mother very soon was led to agree to the
proposition, partly because she had always a difficulty
in saying no, partly because she saw my heart was set
upon it, and partly because she really believed it might
be advantageous to us. When Aunt Elizabeth came
that evening to hear a report of the day's proceedings,
she only remarked, in the tone which always set my
teeth on edge
" Exactly. I knew there was some object in their
coming ; this will be a very cheap way of letting their
children learn French. Margaret, I ain surprised at
your want of spirit !"
Barbara and I went through plenty of sight- seeing
that afternoon, and dined, to our great delight, at the
table d'hote ; after which, Uncle Henry and Robert
walked home with us. I did not fancy my uncle was
very wise, and I suspected that he was a good deal
under his wife's dominion ; but he was exceedingly
good-natured, and on the whole we enjoyed our day as
much as we could wish.
How I worried poor Trinette the next morning !
She and I varied much in our feelings towards one
another ; sometimes I racketed her out of her senses,
when she revenged herself by pouring out a voluble list
of grievances to " madame ;" at others we lived in a
sort of armed truce. But the sentiment of her life was
love for the petite, and her round, flat face would absc*
lutely beam with delight when Barbara came to coax
for anything with the pretty beseeching ways, which
she knew could nob be resisted. She kept Trinette in
good humour this busy morning, when so much had to
be arranged. Barbara was to sleep with my mother
and Hester with me, but it required some ingenuity to
transmogrify the tiny lumber-room into a bed-room for
Master Robert, and to manage that when he was in it
he should not be quite suffocated. We had done our
best by the time the brother and sister arrived in a
state of awkward shyness, which my mother's gentle
kindliness soon dispelled ; so that Robert, before going
to bed that night, confided to me that staying behind
I liked him the best although he was the youngest,
because I thought Hester inclined to be fine. Everything
was measured by the standard of her own belongings,
and compared with "our house," "our garden," "our
people." I really believe she thought grand old Sainte
Gudule inferior in architecture to the village church at
Hatherleigh. Into the bargain she admired herself, and
Barbara used to bring Robert to laugh at her " doing
the peacock " before some glass, where she fancied
herself unperceived. I think we tormented poor Hester
greatly, for her faults were just those with which I
could not sympathize, and there was no deep feeling of
affection between the brother and sister to lead them to
spare or screen one another, or to check Robert when I
encouraged him in his love of teasing.
Shyness ! that had vanished to the winds in no
time ! I am thoroughly ashamed of the remembrance
of tlioye days when our house must indeed has? been
the bear-garden which Auut Elizabeth called it. "VVe
were tearing in and out all day long, and up to every wild
prank which it was possible for us to play, Hester being
dragged with us against her will, because she was
afraid of being laughed at. Very often we got into
sad scrapes, and then everything was laid upon my
shoulders. There could be no doubt that I was in
general the one most to blame ; but it sometimes struck
me as strange, whether it was so or not, the conse-
quences were sure to fall upon me, while Robert
slipped out of them scot free. However, I had a reck-
less spirit, and did not very much mind,
My mother's acute nerves suffered grievously during
these boisterous days, and she suffered still more from
pain at the frequent complaints of our conduct which
were vented upon her. Trinette protested that she
could not keep the house clean or tidy; the masters
who were engaged for my cousins' lessons said their
coming was useless, when nothing was prepared*before-
hand ; and my Aunt Elizabeth's comparisons of me
with her steady Pauline became more and more
severe. The idea that Aunt Elizabeth's fidgets were at
the root of all complaints, made me listen more im-
patiently to my mother's entreating expostulations than
I might otherwise have done ; but, indeed, I can in no
way excuse myself, because it was downright thought-
lessness which prevented my realizing the pain I was
One of our wild exploits took place on the occasion
of a children's party given by one of the English resi-
dents at Brussels, and to which we were all invited.
We went with Pauline under Aunt Elizabeth's guardian-
ship, and the evening passed without our getting into
disgrace; and, to the intense glorification of Hester,
MARGIE 8 REMEMBRANCES.
wlio in a pink silk frock felt herself the most gorgeous
of the company. On our return we were to share a
carriage with the Sullivans, two Irish girls living
near us ; and accordingly before eleven o'clock my aunt
saw that we were wrapped up and put into the vehicle.
I don't think she felt quite easy in her mind, but there
did not seem any possible mischief into which we
could fall, and Mary Sullivan was fifteen, and pre-
sented every outward appearance of steadiness. It was
she who just after we had started cried out in
" Oh, Bertha, the cards ! we never left them !"
"What cards?" inquired Hester.
" Why, papa and mamma told us to leave cards for
them at Baron d'Auribeau's on our way this afternoon,
because they went to a ball there the other night, and it
is so far from our house ; and here are the cards in my
" Let us go and leave them now," I suggested.
" What, at this time of night ? oh, we can't !"
" Why not ? Nonsense, Mary, they will only think
it a new oddity of ces Anglaises."
Mary hesitated, but the fun was too irresistible for
her Irish blood ; the driver was told, and away we went
down a narrow street, to stop at a massive, sombre
house, in which not a light or sign of inhabitant was to
be seen. Our driver hammered away at the door, but it
was long before any one appeared, and then out came
the husband of the concierge, shading his eyes from the
light which he held, and evidently just awakened from
his first sleep. I shall never forget the poor man's
bewildered stare as the card was put into his hands, or
the laughing we had all the way home at the wondei
MARGIE S REMEMBRANCES.
which would be created by the new English eccen-
" It will be all right, though," said Robert, rubbing
his hands, "and your father and mother will never find
Mary Sullivan opened her eyes in amazement
" Why, you don't suppose we shall not tell them ! I
expect mamma will scold a little bit, but it would be too
horrid to let them think we had done it as they told
It was Robert's turn to stare now. He and Hester
had certainly no love for confessions.
IT was a fine bright morning, but excessively cold;
the snow lay crisp and hard on the pavement, and our
bed-room windows were thickly coated with frost that as
yet gave no symptom of thawing. My cousins had been
at Brussels for a month, aiid Mrs. Cliff" wrote
that in a few more days she hoped to be with us, and
relieve dear Margaret of the charge she had so kindly
undertaken : meanwhile she earnestly trusted her dear
children had gained the approbation of their instructors.
It did not sound very like a fulfilment of her hopes that
morning, when the little French mistress' voice rang
shrill and sharp .through the house trying to enforce
attention, and Barbara declared that she heard "poor
Robert's" yawns through two walls and a baize door.
When at last they escaped from their confinement they
were in a frantfc state to go somewhere or do some-
MARGIE S REMEMBRANCES.
thing to get those horrid verbs out of their head. An
objection was made to every proposed plan for this
desirable object ; Hester wanted to walk in the park, but
her brother grimaced at the idea; they. bad seen all the
lions of Brussels, the Botanic Gardens, and the Museum,
and the market-place where Egmont and Horn "
"Bother old Egmont and Horn!" broke in Robert
impatiently; "there's no fun in that. Now at home
there would be something for a fellow to do, shooting, or
skating, or "
"Well," I said, angry at his ingratitude, "there's
skating enough here."
"Skating! oh, that's awfully jolly! Come along,
girls, let's be off."
" But I must get leave first," I said, doubtfully, for
I knew my mother trembled at the very name of ice.
"Well, get it; you can get anything you like, I
know. I tell you what, Margie, you ought to have been
a boy, because you're such fun."
I had never found my mother so difficult to persuade,
for in general she yielded to me after a few remon-
strances, but that day she tried every argument to turn
us from our purpose. At the last I cannot say she quite
consented, though she did not forbid it; she shook her head
sadly when I had given her a parting hug, and assured
her that no harm could possibly come to us, and said
" You must do as you please, Margie ; I cannot con-
trol you ; but remember, if anything happens to Barbara
I shall die."
Her tone was so sad that I half repented, but Robert
was impatiently drumming outside the door, and the
impetuous self-will which my mother said she could not
control, and which I had never myself learned to govern,
earned me away in spite of the misgivings of my
conscience. All the bread we could find we crammed
into our pockets, meaning to be independent of dinner,
and started. Trinette was cleaning the steps, and
Robert's first exploit in rushing out was to tumble over
her bucket, and cany it with him in a headlong descent.
He looked very rueful as he picked himself up, and the
astonished Trinette seized the opportunity to pour out
voluble reproaches upon us all, me in particular.
" Tenez, Mam' sell e Marg'rite, will there never be an
end of your follies? Is it not enough for the poor
Madame to have so much pain from your behaviour
within, but you cannot even seek your distractions out
of doors in a comme il faut manner ! And the petite, do
you take her also with you ? Ah, my child, my jewel,
my angel, take heed to thyself and be sage!"
Triii ette cast withering glances upon us as she spoke
but, though half affronted, I only laughed it off", and we
turned towards the Boulevard ; Hester daintily picking
her way along the slippery road, lest a fall should
iamage her new frock. It was a very exhilarating day ;
|}2low all was hard and crisp, and overhead was a clear
ran and a cloudless blue sky, against which the snowy
branches of the trees stood out in delicate tracery.
The cheerful houses along the Boulevard had their
lower windows filled with the most lovely flowers ; tiny
orange-trees laden with blossom, moss-roses breaking
into bud, brilliant masses of hyacinths and tulips ; here
and there where the windows were opened a strange
summer smell contrasted with the outer cold. Every
one moved briskly, for it was too cold to dawdle ; the
drivers of the fiacres thumped their chests to warm
their frozen fingers ; peasant women, with bright hand-
kerchief shawls and tight caps clattered along in their
great sabots; sleighs dashed by in numbers, gay with
every imaginable quaint device, with tinkling bells and
bear and tiger skins, and ladies seated in them like
helpless masses of furs. There was quite enough to
amuse us on the road, for numbers of people were
bound for the same destination as ourselves. Turning
out of the Boulevard by another Porte, we left the town
behind, and half-an-hour's walking brought the gay
skating scene in view. It was a large pond overhung
with banks, and with a massive building which once
had been a convent standing stern and gloomy at one
end a dismal spot enough when not enlivened by its
present gaiety and excitement. But now all was anima-
tion; boys and men cut grotesque figures on the ice, or
swept gracefully down from one end of the pond to the
other j and the ladies, who feared to tempt such dangers,
ensconced themselves in small wooden chairs or minia-
ture sleighs which gentlemen pushed behind, and sent
rapidly skimming over the ice.
Before we left home I had made up my mind that
we would only be lookers-on, because my mother's words
would ring in my ears, and perhaps it was the know-
ledge of this which made Robert talk so grandly as we
came along about his skating powers. He could cut
zigzags, circles, eights, any out-of-the-way figure ; there
was nothing which he had not done, or was not equal to
doing ; and he expressed the most unmitigated contempt
at the idea of French fellows being able to skate. But
these professions suddenly ceased when we reached the
pond itself, and beyond a few innocent attempts at
sliding on its outskirts, Robert did not attempt to dazzle
us with his boasted exploits.
Many of the skaters were acquaintances of ours, and
among them a French, family who entered with the
greatest zest into the spirit of the amusement. Auguste
Didier, a good-tempered lad, seeing us after a time
standing rather disconsolately on the bank, skated for-
ward with an empty chair, and requested the honour of
taking one of the young ladies for a promenade upon
the ice. My resolutions vanished to the winds. Hester,
as the stranger, was first packed in, and away she went
in a flutter of delight at the distinction. By turns we
all shared the fun; Robert obtained leave from the
good-natured Auguste to assist in pushing behind, and
after a good many tumbles he scrambled along pretty
well. I could not, however, resist whispering to him
that, after all, he did not seem to be able to do much
without the help of a " French fellow ! " Little I thought
what that speech would cost us !
Auguste took us for his last promenade, and with a
sweeping bow went off* to make himself agreeable to
others among the crowd. I imagined our sleighing was
at an end, and, leaving Hester and Barbara to watch
the skaters, went over to talk to an old lady and gentle-r
man who had recognized me, and were smiling and
nodding from the other side of the water. They had a
great many questions to ask on different subjects, and
kept me standing by them longer than I had intended ;
presently old Madame Vanderlinden said
" And the petite, I see, is enjoying herself among the
others. Ah ! how charming it is that our young ones
should have so paany diversions !"
She made a gesture with her hand towards the ice
as she spoke, and, looking that way, I saw that she was
actually pointing to Barbara, who was seated in a sjeigh,
and pushed along by Robert alone. I was exceedingly
frightened and angry ; there was Robert dragging the
child into danger by way of proving to me that he could
do without the aid of a " French fellow," and I was per-
fectly helpless and unable to get at them. I beckoned
and called in vain ; Barbara laughed, kissed her hand,
and was evidently in full enjoyment of the fun; and
Robert only nodded with a provoking little air of tri-
umph which annoyed me almost as much as anything
else. After all, I began to think I might be over-fid-
getty. Monsieur and Madame Vanderlinden were look-
ing calmly on with evidently no idea of danger in their
heads ; it was true they did not know as I did Robert's
utter unskilfulness, but then what could happen at the
worst ? If Robert fell a dozen times (and for his own
sake I heartily wished that he might) no harm could
come to Barbara. So I stood discontentedly watching
them, only resolved to administer a good scolding when
once they were off the ice, and in my power.
At last, after careering about in a blundering fashion
to his heart's content, Robert seemed to get weary, and
turned the little sleigh in the direction of the old con-
vent, towards which I had strolled. I had just noticed
that no skaters seemed to approach very near that spot,
but without thinking of any reason for their keeping off,
when I heard a cry from two or three of the nearest
" Back, back ! it is dangerous ; it is forbidden to go
Oh, the agony of that moment ! I knew directly
what it meant. I cried out too, " Oh, go back ! go
back ! " but Robert scared, and, only half understanding,
lost all presence of mind : instead of turning round, he
let go the chair, and, driven on by the impetus, it came
straight towards me towards the danger. It was but
for an instant; I heard the ice crackling, I saw my
darling standing up, her golden hair flying behind her ;
her arms stretched out, crying, " Margie ! Margie ! "
and then came a sharper crack, and she went down in a
I do not think that I was frightened any more. I
distinctly heard my mother's words, " Remember, if
anything happens to Barbara, I shall die ;" and I was
quite collected when I ran down the bank before any
one else was able to reach the spot. Then I believe
they called out to me. I remember a confused medley
of voices and shouts, but no one dared to follow me on
the ice. One voice rang clearly out to my comprehen-
sion ; I know now that it was Auguste Didier's : " Lie
down flat, Mademoiselle, it is the only chance ! " Every
instinct in me was mercifully quickened, and I did it ;
I pushed myself along to the edge of the hole. The
chair had not altogether fallen under water, a part of it
still hung suspended, and perhaps had caught Barbara's
dress, and prevented her from beiag sucked under the
ice. She was not far from the surface, and I caught her
frock, and, for a few moments, brought her head above
water. But, still conscious, she clutched at the sides of
the dreadful hole, and the already cracking ice broke
away in her grasp, piece by piece, from under me. I
could not drag her out. I knew that I was sinking
myself ; it was all the work of a few moments. I heard
cries close to me. I even saw men pushing ladders and
poles along the ice, and then came a rush, and darkness j
and T remember no more.
"ON THB ICE.
MARGIE S REMEMBRANCES,
I AWOKE witli a sensation of warmth, and an indis-
tinct consciousness that many people were moving
about ; and that some one whose voice sounded very far
away, whispered, " Thank Heaven, this one is saved ! "
bnt it was a long time before I could collect my senses
sufficiently to know where I was. It was a strange
room, and strange people were in it, all looking as far
off and unreal as if it was but the awakening from a
vivid dream. But after I had looked for a long time at
one of these figures, I made out that it was my Aunt
Elizabeth, crying, and strangely moved. She brushed
away her tears when she saw that I recognized her, and
said quite gently, " My dear, you are better now ; will
you drink this?" and then I found that she was really
standing quite close to my pillow, and holding some hot
mixture to my lips.
I did as I was bid, and I believe I called my mother,
for in a moment I remembered something of the past,
and tried to start up in bed, but could not lift myself.
Then I cried out in agony
" Barbara ! Barbara is in the water ! Aunt Eliza-
beth, do you hear ? she is under the ice !"
I think my aunt was terribly upset, but she answered
" My dear, she is here ; she is in this house."
" How came she here ?" I asked, looking dreamily
round, for my senses were only half roused ; " I don't
see her, is she safe ? "
" We think she is asleep."
Was it Aunt Elizabeth, or was I still dreaming?
The voice was so unlike hers, so low, so subdued ; the
puzzle made me almost angry. Then my eye fell upon
something which I held in my hand, a small piece of
coloured stuff : I held it out to her.
"What is it?"
She took it from me, and for a moment did not
answer ; at last she said
" It is a little bit of Barbara's frock ; you held her
so tight, my dear, they could not separate you. But
you must not talk, only drink this and go to sleep, so
as to be quite well by the time your mother comes."
I pushed the glass away with my hand, " Is Doctor
Bidaut here?" We never called him uncle.
"Yes, he has only just gone away; he wishes you
to take this ; you must do it, Margie."
My aunt spoke with something of her old authori-
tative tone, and I no longer resisted ; I drank it, but
with an undefined misgiving I asked once more
" And Barbara is safe ? You are sure ?"
"My dear, she is here asleep."
I know now that they thought it was the sleep ot
When, after desperate efforts, in which Auguste
Didier was the most unceasing, they had rescued us,
we were both insensible ; and as they could not loosen
my grasp of Barbara's dress, they were obliged, in order
to divide us, to cut it away, and to leave the piece in
my hand. Old Monsieur Yanderlinden took the direc-
tion of affairs ; thus by his orders we were carried to
the nearest house, and a messenger was sent off to
request Doctor Bidaut and my aunt to come instantly.
Happily they met the former on the road, so that littlo
tims elapsed before all that medical skill could suggest
was being tried. From the first he had greater hope
for me than for Barbara, because she had been longer in
the water, and all endeavours to restore animation
seemed to be perfectly useless. My aunt has told me
that one by one they all completely gave up hope, but
he never ceased to watch and use every imaginable
means. She said to him once, "Louis, it is useless;
hadst thou not better leave her?" and he answered,
" Not yet, mon amie ; it may be God will still give back
the little ewe lamb to her mother." Ah ! how happy
he must have felt when his faith and patience were
rewarded; and when at length we were both quietly
sleeping, and the crowd at the door had dispersed at
the intelligence, Madame Bidaut ventured, for the first
time, to send tidings to our home.
It may seem strange that this had not been done
before, but my aunt dreaded the effect of the news ; if
it had gone to my mother when we were at the worst, and
brought her to find us unconscious, the results might
have been grievous. As it was, they were obliged to
use the greatest caution in the wording of the note,
and Doctor Bidaut wrote a rough scrawl for my aunt
to copy out. I once found this little note put carefully
away among my mother's treasures, written on only a
small scrap of paper, but in firm handwriting, in which
all appearance of haste was studiously avoided :
" DEAE MAEGAEET, Margie, Barbara, and the others
are with us, and perhaps we shall keep some of them
all night, for the silly children got a wetting at the
pond to-day ; so we thought it better to give them dry
clothes at once. I daresay you will hear all kinds of
wonderful stories about their adventure, but there is
nothing to be alarmed at ; and lest you should not bo
satisfied with my assurance, Louis will walk over for
you in an hour's time, that you may see them with your
own eyes. Your affectionate sister,
" ELIZABETH BIDAUT."
It was not very far to move, and Doctor Bidaut
noped to convey us, well wrapped in blankets, to his
own house before my mother could arrive ; but as we
both slept on, he left directions for future treatment,
and started for our house. As he expected, he met my
mother on the road, leaning on Trinette, and hurrying
along, pale and nervous, but by no means aware of the
extent of the accident until he gradually told her of
what our danger had been. She and he had never got
on together particularly well, because he thought her
fanciful, and she was afraid of him ; but in any case of
real suffering his tenderness was infinite, and now he
opened into all the kindliness of which he was so
largely capable. He brought her back, and she found
us sleeping as he had said, and stole on tiptoe from one
room to the other, quiet tears running down her face
all the time, until my aunt persuaded her to rest
calmly by Barbara's side, and watch for the child's
Aunt Elizabeth now went in search of Hester and
Robert, who, frightened out of their wits at the share
which the latter had in the accident, had crept into the
house with the crowd, and were found by her huddled
together in a corner behind the stove. She brought
them out looking thoroughly scared and miserable ; but
when they heard that we were not really drowned,
their spirits and appetites revived, and they were glad
MARGIE S REMEMBRANCES.
to be fed upon cakes and chocolate by the good-natured
mistress of the house, who was very desirous to vent
her hospitality upon some of the party.
Barbara awoke so much restored, that Doctor
Bidaut consented to my mother's taking her home at
once. I was not so well, for some pain in my back
still prevented my rising: and, instead of going with
the others, he wished me to be taken to his own house,
and undertook that I should there be well watched and
cared for. My mother was very averse to the sepa-
ration, but she dreaded being thought ungrateful ; and
Aunt Elizabeth told her that her husband thought I
had received some wrench or sprain in the endeavour
to drag out Barbara, which would require his skill and
attention for some time. For myself, I felt too stupified
and weak to resist what at another time would have
seemed to me too dreadful ; I submitted without a word
to my mother's tearful farewell, and after the painful
remove was over though Dr. Bidaut eased it as much
as he could by carrying me himself to the fiacre I
became so uneasy and feverish as to care little where I
was. For days I continued very ill, and haunted by
terrible visions of Barbara's frightened face, as I saw
her coming towards me over the treacherous ice, with
outstretched arms which always eluded my grasp, and
with her piteous cry ringing in my head, " Oh, Margie,
When the fever went it left me very weak, only
able to lie still and trace the lines on the paper of my
room, and count how many times they were repeated
in each pattern, and how many patterns there were
between the floor and the ceiling. How those lines
worried me ! - They were all most kind. Pauline, quiefc
and affectionate, remembering every one of her father's
directions, and moving about the room with a step that
was really noiseless. Aunt Elizabeth never attained to
this perfection of a nurse ; she was more angular and
abrupt, and when she tried hardest to go upon tiptoe
there was an irritating rustle about her suggestive of
the green silk ; but she never once spoke sharply to
me, and petted, even if she half scolded, my dear
mother. I think I suffered the more as I became phy-
sically better, because my mind went to work, and the
thoughts which had before floated by in an indistinct
maze took shrpe and consistency, and would not be
stilled. I thought how different my life was to whal
my father's lessons should have made it, and how, in-
stead of being a comfort to my mother, I had been
nothing but a care and burden. I thought how badly I
was influencing Barbara, teaching her, like myself, to
mind nothing but the self-pleasing of the moment ; and
I thought, with a shudder, to what that self-pleasing
had all but led me ! The last act had brought punish-
ment, and had opened my eyes to my danger ; but it
was not really worse than a hundred other instances of
self-will which rose up now from the recesses of my
conscience, and upon which, because they carried with
them no visible ill effects, I had never until now cast
back a sorrowful thought.
I was very wretched. Sometimes I spent my time
in m?Mng good resolutions ; at others I tried hard tc
drive tiem out of my head, and begged Pauline to sit
by me and read. Her voice, her quietness, her calm
face, with the fair hair smoothly plaited away from it,
all soothed and stilled me ; she was not clever, but she
was good ; and she seemed to carry about with her an
MARGIE S REMEMBRANCES.
atmosphere of serene peace, which, was an infinite
comfort to me at this time of miserable self-accusing.
The pain in my back continued, and prevented me
from sitting up much, though it struck me occasionally
that I had been ill for an unaccountable length of time.
Barbara brought me early flowers and little branches of
bushes and trees, that I might see for myself, first, how
the brown buds had swollen, and then how the tender
leaves were unfolding their vivid green. She kept me
informed of every step which our garden made towards
spring ; and of the removal of the straw coverings
from the statues in the park, which had always seemed
to us like the ending of winter. I began to have a
restless longing to get out, and to think that Doctor
Bidaut with all his kindness was very cruel. Often my
mother urged that I might return home with her, but
he always had the same answer, " Let her rest where
she is, the house is quieter." My cousins left Brussels
a day or two after our accident, I could not hear much
about them, but my mother said that Mrs. Cliff appeared
satisfied, had no doubt the visit would prove of advan-
tage to all, and hoped it might be repeated at some
future time. She took no notice of Robert's share in
the accident, but trusted it would be a lesson to me and
to my sister, who, she had remarked, were somewhat
wild. This was all ; my mother repeated her sister-in-
law's words simply, and without a shadow of annoyance
in her tone.
" And not one word of thanks for all you did ! O
mamma, how could you stand it ?"
" She was not unkind, Margie, my love," pleaded
my mother anxiously ; " I assure you we parted very
good friends, and Hester and Robert sent their love."
I gave an impatient twist which hurt my back,
and obliged me to be qniet.
Indeed I was terribly impatient at this time, and
wretched at the knowledge that I was so. Sometimes
I was even provoked with Pauline for her forbearance,
and would have preferred a good scolding to the pitying
looks and tones which I met with from everybody up to
Aunt Elizabeth, even when I had been most provoking.
It was not so much that I minded the attacks of pain ;
severe as they were, when they came I felt as if there
was something definite to bear, and bear them I did
grimly and uncomplainingly; but many a little child
who had been early trained to self-control would have
endured the confinement and tedium of a sick room
better than I, whose fifteenth birthday passed during
those weary months.
My mother's face, instead of brightening, became
each day mor-e sad during the hours which she daily
spent by my side ; often she broke down altogether,
and went away in a flood of tears, which I fancied were
caused by hasty words of mine, and which added not a
little to my unhappiness. After a time people came to
see me as I lay on a sofa in my bed-room. I thought
they would be a relief, I had an intense longing to get
away from myself, to be treated like the rest of the
world, and to be looked at without the pitiful expression
that seemed always to grow out of the faces that bent
over me. But the visitors made matters worse, for
they talked of the heroism I had shown. I, who had
caused it all ! They assured me that the whole town
rang with praises of my courage and presence of mind ;
that it had been immortalized in the journals. " Ah,
madame, and such a young girl !" excldmed one enthu-
Si'asluO lady, turning to my mother, and clasping her
hands, " What an honour to have her for your
daughter !" I had a misanthropical pleasure in telling
Pauline that I afterwards heard the same lady whisper
to her companion, that really I was too ugly to be a
Aunt Elizabeth was sharp-sighted enough in general
but, with one exception, I think no one in the house
knew how much more of my dull wretchedness was
owing to mental than to bodily sufferings. The ex-
ception was Doctor Bidaut. His patients occupied his
time too fully for him to be able to give much of it to
me, so that his daily visits were short, and often he was
accompanied by strange doctors, who asked the same
questions, and made the same comments before me. I
must be patient a little longer. A little longer, when I
was not patient at all ! I never knew what I know
now, that Doctor Bidaut with his large experience had
guessed at a great many of the troubles which be-
wildered me. I believed him, though most kind, to be
taken up only with his professional claims. But one
April morning, when a consciousness of the outer stir
and gaiety of a spring day had added to my discontent
within, he came up to my room, and dismissing the
patient Pauline, sat down by my sofa, and announced
that he was come for a talk. I was so resolved to make
the most of this unlooked-for opportunity, that in answer
to his first question
" Well, Marguerite " (though he spoke in English,
he always gave the French pronunciation to my name),
" how do you find yourself?" I replied with another.
" How much longer must I be here, Doctor Bidaut ?"
" In your tower ? Do you know, Marguerite, that
up here yon look very like an enchanted princess, wait-
ing to be released from a spell !"
His tone was bantering, and it provoked me because
I felt so dreadfully in earnest myself; he began again,
however, in a moment.
" We will talk of that by and by. Are you tired of
us all ?"
" JSTot tired, only "
" Everybody is very kind, bnt I want to get home.
You see, Doctor Bidaut, I have been thinking since J
lay here and and " I made a violent effort and pro-
ceeded. " I am fifteen, and Aunt Elizabeth used to say
I had been nothing but a plague, and now I want to
set to work and begin a new life." I felt this very
hard to say, but I thought he would understand, and
perhaps help me.
" Yes," he repeated slowly, " a new life. Have you
ever thought, Marguerite, of what life is made up ?"
" Days, and hours, and moments, I suppose."
" Well, child, and the moments are passing now,
passing for ever, and life slips by us while we are
plotting and planning for future hours ; and one day we
shall wake up and find it gone. The present is our
" No, no !" I cried out passionately, " not for me.
This is existing, not living!"
" Hush !" he said gravely, "your Bible should teach
you something different to that. Is not suffering one
way of bearing the cross ?"
He silenced me for a moment, then I went on more
quietly : " I did not mean about the pain ; I want to
work, and what can one do here ?"
" Ah !" he answered cheerfully, " we have come to the
question now ; but do you know, Marguerite, the hardest
battles of life have been fought on a couch like yours."
Something in his words struck me. " Doctor Bidaut,
am I never to get better ?"
"God knows!" he said, very gravely, "we do not
think you will ever be able to get about much again."
I turned my face away that he might not see the
great tears which would come welling up. Could it be
true ? Was everything at an end for me ? Four walls
and a sofa. Oh, what a dreary, dreary, impossible life
it seemed ! I thought my burden was too heavy to bear.
Doctor Bidaut went on again, and I knew by his tone
how he felt for me.
" You have a brave spirit, Marguerite, I think it
better you should know the worst and face it, than wear
your life out with restless expectations, as you have
been doing lately. Child, it is hard to bear, only it is
His will ; try and make it your own also. You will be a
worker even here ;" he put his hand on the sofa, " you
have yourself to conquer, and patience for a prize to win."
" Patience !" I said despairingly. It seemed such a
miserable inducement, such a little gain, after all the
bright visions that throng the mind when life is just
" Yes, patience. It stands high up in St. Peter's list of
virtues does it not, Marguerite ? Set to work cheerily
do not think that God has put you aside because He
has taken you a little out of the world. ' They also
serve who only stand and wait ;' is not that what your
grand poet says ?"
His words inspired me with a better heart, but I
wanted to know more.
" Why am I never to be any better ?"
" I did not quite say that, but your back received r.u
injury that day on the ice which it is scarcely possible can
ever be cured entirely. You may be able to move a little
more than at present, it is by no means unlikely ; only "
" I must make up my mind to be a helpless burden
all my life," I said, bitterly, " and all through my own
folly. What will mamma do ?"
" Marguerite, my dear child, do not speak so," he
said, kindly ; " it would have been worse if you had
gone on growing utterly careless and heedless. Look
at it as a merciful check, and remember what is left to
you mind, eyesight, fingers "
" Ah ! I can draw," I interrupted ; " perhaps I can do
something yet. Doctor Bidaut, when may I go home ?"
"Very soon," he said after a pause; "your mother
wants to have you."
"Does she know?"
" Yes, all know."
"Ah! that accounts," and I fell into a deep fit of
musing, in which he let me be uninterrupted. When I
looked up I met his eye, clear, keen, and full of kindli-
ness. I pnt my hand in his.
" I expect it will be horribly hard, but I am going to
try, Doctor Bidaut."
" That is well said, men amie ; we must be trying all
our lives, only not in our own strength." He went on
in French, and more to himself than to me. " The road
is rough, but the end is glorious, and many before us
have pressed on to the goal. Courage ! their Help will
be our Help too !"
MARGIE S REMEMBRANCES.
IN a little time I was taken home, as Doctor Bidaut
had promised I should be, but before I left his house I
had followed his advice, and tried to begin my " new
life " without waiting for imaginary periods. Ah ! I
found my old self in my new life after all, my old hasty
temper and imperious will which were to be tamed into
the patience I once despised, and rebellious longings
which often surged up and drove me to beat like a bird
against the bars of my prison. But I did struggle
now I was not contented to give way ; I learnt to think
a little of the feelings of others, and to be grateful for
kindness to myself. And so much was shown to me !
Pauline, the most tender and unselfish of nurses, who
had borne all my fretfulness with never-failing for-
bearance, I began day by day to find out what she wa&,
and to read the true beauty of her character. We made
arrangements for constant meetings, when she was to
teach my long fingers some delicate embroidery, and I
was to help her in German. She confided to me that,
longing to be more of a companion to her father, she
had always envied my attainments ; and I acknowledged
in return, how greatly I had disliked her because she
was held up as a pattern of goodness.
"Poor mamma!" said Pauline, laughing, " she has
always tried so hard to think me a genius, but papa
" You have a genius for kindness, Pauline," I said,
" Do you think so ? "Well, who knows ? nursing
may be my vocation after all."
MAEG1E S KEMEMBRANCES.
" And lying still, mine."
"Yes," she said, simply, "every one has something
different ; but that is no reason, Margie, why you should
choose your pillows to be crooked and uncomfortable.
Let me shake them up ; my father says we can always
make the best or the worst of things."
And her practical matter-of-fact nature was a capital
balance for mine, always too prone to run away with
romantic and exaggerated ideas.
They made a little fete day of my return. Barbara
dressed up the house with branches, and Trinette baked
enough cakes to last for a week. There was no room
for the bitterness which I made up my mind I should
feel at coming home a helpless burden ; indeed, after my
mother had recovered from the first sad pang which it
naturally caused her, I think we were rather merry than
otherwise, Pauline exerting herself unusually, and Bar-
bara bent on showing off various accomplishments
which she had learnt in my absence.
" Isn't this a pretty mat, Margie ? I did it, fringe
and all, and it is to stand in your room always. I go to
a day-school now you see, Margie, but I do wish they
would have the Miss Primroses there for the reading ;
what we do isn't half such good fun."
" Can't I save that, at all events ?" I asked, looking
at my mother.
She hesitated and seemed distressed.
" My dear, I don't quite know, it might be too much
for you, and, besides, your Aunt Elizabeth seems to
think you scarcely know enough ; Barbara wants regular
training now, you see, my dear love."
I had learnt to bear Aunt Elizabeth's name by this
time, and I acknowledged to myself that she mighfc be
3CABGIE S REMEMBRANCES.
righfc. My own knowledge was too desultory andun-
shaped for me to be fit even to teach a child of eight years
old. Well, I was resolved that this should be improved ; I
would work away with a good will until I had learnt
enough to save the expense of Barbara's school.
Another check ! I worked too hard, lost my appe-
tite, grew weaker, and was ordered by Dr. Bidaut to lay
aside books, and be idle. How I grumbled at this ! but
he only smiled his quaint smile, and said,
" Luckily, Marguerite, you may still work for patience
without its affecting your health."
Ah ! I had many a lesson to learn, and fits of sad
depression, because it seemed to me that I was always
failing where I had most tried ; and I hated myself the
more because so much thought and kindness was shown
me, never varying, however ungratefully it was received.
I have very little more to say : the life upon which I
look back, though it has its story to me, would* seem
dreary and uneventful to those who take active parts in
the busy stir of the world. From my little niche I have
looked on, and learnt something, but it has been by
watching and waiting.
We lived on at Brussels for ten years, and then came
the first break up of our little party, my pretty Barbara
married. I can see now her sweet April face on the
morning when she knelt down by my side, buried her
head in my lap, and told me to guess what had happened.
Ah ! I was not long in doing that, I had felt sure from
almost the first that Mr. Matson loved my darling, and
had tried to keep back the selfish pang which came when
I thought that our sunshine would be stolen away, and
to love him for her dear sake. But when I smoothed
her bright Lair, and whispered that I supposed she was
to he turned into a little English parsoness, she started
up eagerly, with her face all aglow
" No, no, no, Margie, I have told him that I like him
very much, and I couldn't help doing that, because, poor
fellow, he seemed so dismal when he thought I didn't ;
but we are not to think about being married. Why,
what do you suppose you could do without me, you poor
dear old Mrs. Patience ? Margie, Margie," and the tears
streamed down her sweet face, " do you think I would
ever leave you, when it was all through me that your
life was blighted !"
Well, before very long we had settled all that. Mr.
Matson was not a person to be satisfied with half pos-
sessions, but as Barbara persisted in her resolution not
to be separated, it followed that we went with her to her
English home. Not to the same house, but to a cot-
tage in the parish where her husband was perpetual
curate, a tiny spot, which a great jessamine and a Vir-
ginian creeper have taken under their especial protec-
tion, and converted into a bower.
I would rather not say anything of our Brussels part-
ings. Pauline is married to a Belgian, and is a pattern
wife and mother. I should be only too glad if Aunt
Elizabeth would come to Trenton, though it were in the
identical green silk that I so detested in old days, and she
and Dr. Bidaut really talk of coming one day to see me.
For I am alone now ; my dear mother has gone to
her rest in the quiet churchyard of which I can just see
a corner from my favourite window. At first it was
very bitter, but the sorrow was all for myself, and it is
but something more given me for which to wait patiently.
I am never lonely, and have much to occupy me. I have
a faithful maid, and she and I have always one of Bar-
bara's over-grown schoolgirls in hand, whom we teach
to be a servant : we have quite a family of these girls
out in the world, and I am very thankful to possess such
an interest, and to feel that even the most helpless may
do a little. Living is dearer in England than in Brus-
sels, and when we first came over we found it hard work
to get on ; so I turned my old drawing-lessons to ad-
vantage, and I have generally quite as much as I can
manage to do in the way of illustrating books, with all
sorts of nice inventions at hand, to make it easy to me,
as I lie on my sofa. Barbara and Barbara's children are
here every day, and there is one little brown- eyed
maiden, my godchild, whom I sometimes hope her mo-
ther will spare to me altogether.
Looking back, I can see the blessings of my life, how
rich they have been, though often coming in sorrowful
disguise. The years have been full of failures and short-
comings, but the Hand that upheld me was very pitiful,
and the patience which once seemed so far off, I humbly
hope has now come to be my friend. Struggles and
suffering are not over ; how should they be ? but while
He sees fit for them to last I can hold on my way with
a cheerful spirit, " Faint, yet pursuing."
Note ly another Hand. I have been reading over
Margie's remembrances, and I feel quite sure that those
who do the same without knowing her as I do will have
no idea of what she is, or of what she has suffered. The
pain is sometimes terrible, but she bears it beautifully,
and seems only intent upon hiding its sharpness from
those she loves. She speaks of having been impatient
at first, I do not know, I can hardly remember her so;
but if it was tbe case, I can only say that since then she
has borne years of pain and confinement with the noblest
heroism. She has so much energy and determination of
spirit that one can hardly realize that her body is almost
helpless, and she throws herself into our joys or troubles
with the heartiest sympathy and forgetful ness of self.
Many have told me what I feel myself, that the best les-
sons of their life have been taught them by Margie's sofa,
and ray husband, whose praise is worth having,. says he
thinks her character the most beautiful he knows. Her
drawings are admirable ; the children carry in to her
great wreaths of creepers or flowers when they come
back from their walks, and she illustrates books and
poems with them in all manner of quaint, fanciful de-
vices. She does not like us to speak of her lot as a hard
one, my dear brave old Margie! and, indeed, I feel
sure she must be happy, for her brown eyes, with all
their brightness, have a look of peace down deep within
them, which always seems to us like the light which
" shineth more and more unto the perfect day/'
DBAWIHQ HIS MOTHER TO THE GABDEX FOE THE LAST TIME.
PURPLES AND BLUES,
BY EMILY TAYLOR.
QOMEWHERE about the month
^ of May, iii the year 1860,
sundry people who lived, in the ancient city of Hulme,
in one of the eastern counties of England, had their
curiosity excited by the appearance of a respectable
elderly gentleman, very trimly shaven, and neat in
all respects ; rather short and stout ; his hair, what
there was of it, perfectly white ; his countenance kindly,
but grave and sad ; he was observed peeping into odd
corners, as if with a certain familiarity, yet continually
starting, as if he found something unexpected there.
A look of surprise sometimes crossed his coun-
tenance, as he looked up at some of the names over the
large shops in the market-place. He seemed to be
seeking for old acquaintances. Once or twice only, he
made an exclamation, when he saw a name lie kne-vf
Some one said he entered a shop it was that of i
firm engaged in the druggist business, which used to
PURPLES AND BLUES.
be old Drake's and went eagerly tip to the shopman to
inquire for the principal. A smart, middle-aged man
came forward the stranger shook his head.
" Perhaps, sir, you would like to see my father. I
am sorry to say, he is very infirm, and lives in the
" Oh, indeed ! and you are his son, then ?"
" Yes, sir ; can I have the pleasure of mentioning
your name to my father ?"
The stranger again shook his head.
" No, I don't think he knew me. I left Hulme full
fifty years ago. But, pray, sir, can you tell me anything
about the people I used to know best here ?" And he
named a string of names. Five or six physicians, as
many surgeons, clergymen to no end, principal shop-
keepers, manufacturers, editors of provincial papers ; a
shake of the head followed the mention of them all.
" What ! all gone ? impossible, surely ! Why, some
were younger than myself." A thought struck him the
ladies ! What pretty girls there were once in Hulme !
"Pray, what is become of Alderman Hughes'
handsome daughter ?"
" Sir, she is a blind old lady, living with a lame
brother in the Close."
" Did she never marry, then ?"
" Ko, sir, she was blind before she was thirty."
" And Miss Gates ?"
" What ! the daughters of the Rev. Jeremiah Grate ?
They went, one to America, and the other to New
" And that pretty, merry Miss Hopkins ?"
" You can't mean the Quaker lady, Sarah Hopkins,
who died last year?'*
PURPLES AND BLUES.
" A Quakeress ! why, how came that about ?"
" Well, sir, she was tired of a gay life, I suppose,
and she liked the Friends. She was a right down good
woman, and ' thee'd ' and ' thon'd ' quite nat'ral."
" It's a strange world," muttered our traveller.
" Change without and change within. That does not
change, however," continued he glancing toward the
cathedral. " Nor those," looking at another old church
Something about the old gentleman interested the
chemist. " You must have known us, well, a while ago,
sir," said he.
" Why, yes I was born here, certainly something
more than seventy years ago, and I had some fresh,
long young years of life in your town, my friend. Is
the free school going on well now ?"
" Well, I don't know much about it, there are new
schools that cut it out ; but there it is, kept in the same
" Ah ! and the palace ?"
"Well, you know we have had several bishops;
within not many years the palace has been refitted and
" I beg your pardon, I am keeping you a long time."
" No inconvenience to speak of, sir. Can I tell you
anything more ?"
" No, thank you," with a weary sigh. " Oh, yes !
about your city elections : how do they go on ?"
" Quite quiet, thank you, sir."
"Quiet! a Hulme election quiet! How c^mthatbe?"
"Why, you know, sir, the reform bill changed all
that ; the votes are taken in half a dozen places ; we don't
fight now, sir."
PURPLES AND BLUES.
* But you chair the members still, surely ?"
" No, sir, haven't this long time."
" Bless me ! how stnpid it must be. Why, I r*
member when you could not hear St. Saviour's bellj^
even, for the noise of the people."
" All at an end, sir, however."
" Well, at least, I hope you're all better men. But,
now, will you just direct me to the inn I wanted to find,
the ' Rose and Crown.' It used to be one of the best."
" You won't be comfortable there, sir ; it is nothing
but a pothouse. If you take my advice, you'll go to
the ' Star,' or the ' Royal Arms,' or the 'Victoria,' or the
' Copenhagen Hotel ;' any of them are good."
" Thank you, let it be the oldest, if you please."
" Well, sir, the ' George,' then, that's very respecta-
ble, near the cathedral, sir/'
" Excellent good-morning to you." And the old
gentleman went his way; and the landlady of the
" George," afterwards reported that he was quite moved
in talking with her of old times, and that she had found
out who he was; her grandfather used to know his father,
and he had left her a sort of account of the family
as they used to be ; written, she said, in a small, neat
upright hand, quite clerkly and particular. She
wanted to show him some of the improvements in
Hulme ; but he shook his head, and said they were
not improvements to him, he must get away as soon as
he could, and so he went off, next morning, to Rivers-
mouth, where he was to take steamer (so he said)
to London, and she doesn't believe anybody in Hulme
will ever see that old gentleman again, and I do not
myself believe that they will ; but what he left behind,
we may as well read.
PUEPLES AND BLUES.
THE ancient city of Hulme used to bo a famous place
so some think it still ; I was born there, and I loved
it, and always shall love it. It was one of those towns in
which we are specially struck at every turn with the
sense of great contrasts. A grand old cathedral,
whose architectural details range over several centuries,
and whose newest part is venerable ; a still older
castle, walls broken down in many places, of very un-
certain outline, yet picturesque in their ruins; towers
of many handsome churches ; massive gateways and
arches. Take account of all these, and any city that
possesses them possesses the elements of something
great and noble ; but for all that, the city itself may be,
on the whole, mean and vulgar. There were very few
handsome dwelling-houses or good streets in Hulme.
Nothing of the alliance one sees in some continental cities
between commercial purposes and fine architecture.
I do not know why our English towns, which have
taken rank very early in the commerce of Europe,
should be so deficient in the outward signs of wealth
and grandeur in their streets and civic buildings. But
there is scarcely a city among us that has a really fine
old town hall ; nothing, at least, to compare with the
PURPLES AND BLUES.
Hotels de Ville at Ghent, or Louvain, or Rouen ; nor,
except very rarely, do you find a private house in such
places with lofty gables and carved decorations, as abroad.
Our largest old public halls are mostly cribbed out of
monasteries, and have never acquired the loolc of appro-
priateness visible in the foreign buildings I have
visited, because they were not built for the same
There are generally, I think, some one or two charac-
teristics in a city population, caught from the more
marked aspects of the place they grow up in. Thus I
have always fancied that Hulme, with its few grand
redeeming objects and its general look of mediocrity
and shabbiness, must have done a good deal towards
making its people what they have been during the
greater portion of their more modern history. I remem-
ber it best in the early part of the present century. I
was born ten years before it began, but have little
trace in my mind of anything previous to 1798.
The people were on the whole, I believe, vulgar.
There was a twang on their tongues; not the full
rich, round, and deep sound which prevails in some
parts of England; but meagre and curtailed. Middle
syllables in particular never had any chance of getting
a hearing. You might stand in the market-place at
Hulme for an hour, and not guess that the English
language was formed of anything longer than two
syllable words. The h, too, was very uncertain in its
position, and the letter r was the worst treated in the
alphabet, if it came at the end of a word, being in-
variably sounded as if the unhappy word ended in AW.
I should not be a true-born Holme 'man if I did
not believe from the bottom of my heart that there
PURPLES AND BLUES.
never wasatown like our own Hulme. I can't hear even
now the sound of its name I can't catch up a few
7/ords even of its vulgarest dialect, without a start,
without a rush of warmth to my heart, and may be,
now and then, a tear to my eye. I think there is some-
thing remarkable in this attachment, for I do not find it
at all in the same degree in many other places, and it is
nearly universal with regard to Hulme. My father used
to say he thought it was because our town lay out of
the way of the great thoroughfares of traffic, that we
were not looked upon as merely meant to be passed by ;
but that those who came to us, came really for objects
in which we ourselves were concerned. Our native
manufactures, our antiquities, our local customs, were
their objects ; of course we also thought ourselves worth
the trouble of a visit, so that we had something of the
John Bull within the ordinary Bull-ism a double por-
tion of headiness and self-admiration.
My father's station in this world of Hulme was a
middle one. There were many grades above, and several
below him, and he had the good sense to know his place
and keep it, though in his inmost mind he might
sometimes hope that his children would rise, at any
rate, a ring or two above him in the social ladder.
He was the head warehouseman and manager of one
of the best manufactories of Hulme goods (that of a
Mr. Goodwin), worsted, fancy goods, etc. and in
that position he had a double part to play, having
to give out materials to the workmen, to see to
the measuring, the quality and quantity of the work-
all done at home by the weavers ; when it came back,
to distribute the payments, which the masters awarded
according to his report ; thus to exercise no unimportant
PURPLES AND BLUES.
influence over the comfort of many scores sometimes
many hundreds of operatives and their families ; while
he was accountable to the heads of the house for all the
valuable materials sent out and returned (worked up)
through his hands. He had also to contract with the
dyers, particularly the dyers in black, who all lived near
the river. Also, and what we should first have men-
tioned, he had much to do with the woolcombers, who
had their dealings with the spinners of the yarn, which
was only then beginning to be done in any large quan-
tity by machinery, a very great proportion being spun
by women and children by hand in the country villages.
Thus, my father's department was one of great im-
portance, and to have a trusty, skilful manager was the
grand object of desire among the manufacturers.
There was only one partner in our firm. Mr. G-ood-
'.vin chose to keep all in his own hands, with the excep-
tion of the share allotted to his partner Briggs, by no
means an equal one. He preferred keeping the busi-
ness at a manageable point, and, perhaps, my father was
made the more of, and treated with the confidence
almost of a friend. The junior partner, Mr. Briggs,
had a great deal to do out of the town of Hulme. He
bought the raw silks required, he had large dealings in
Spitalfields, and he it was who travelled all over England
and the Continent for us. He went (when Bonaparte
allowed him) to Spain, sold large cargoes of black
camlets made by us for the monastic orders, for we
Hulme people half clothed the ecclesiastics. "We also
made delicately fine materials for mourning ; and
the mantillas of the Spanish ladies often came out
of Hulmo warehouses. But not then, nor for some years
after, were our goods much noted for beauty and variety.
PURPLES AND BLUES.
Sober industry rather than taste was the quality
which reigned at Hulme. Schools of design were not
then thought of, and yet rich and costly shawls were
early made here.
Many of the citizens of Hulme bore names which
marked a foreign origin. Some had a DE prefixed to
them our own, for instance which was De Carle. In
fact, every one knows that the Flemish and Dutch Pro-
testants had taken refuge from religious persecution in
many of the eastern parts of England, and had been
welcomed by our sovereigns. Queen Elizabeth had given
them a Church in Hulme all to themselves, and there the
Walloon ministers were partly pensioned by the Royal
Dame, who, though she had no pity for any of her
English-born subjects who evinced an attachment to the
Puritan ritual, was very tender to foreign Dissenters.
These artizans did capital service to Hulme. They
brought their own habits of patient industry, and I am
persuaded also their sturdy independence. They were
thought to have brought in a fondness too for gardens
and flowers, always a conspicuous taste in Hulme.
I remember a great many of these French or Flemish
names among our people, some of them clipped and
altered, Hulme fashion ; but in my time none of the
people who bore them cared to retain any other trace
of their origin. They were all Hulme men and
women, and when we were at war with France, I am
sure they were not at all behindhand in rancour and
bitterness. We had several imported emigres, too, who
by their dreadful stories of the French revolution atro-
cities, stimulated the young, and the less instructed espe-
cially, in their feelings of horror for the French, while
there were not wanting some people even in Hulme
FUBPLES AXD BLUES.
who by no means condemned the Revolution as a "whole,
but only lamented its excesses.
I shall have to come back to some peculiarities of
our city ere long, but our own household must now
have its place.
PURPLES AND BLUES.
AND first for my parents. Besides that my father's
long continuance in his position proved the esteem in
which his character was held, my recollection brings
him to me as a sensible, and, for his station, an instructed
man. I think that which helped very much in raising
him above almost all the men I remember in his line of
business, was the friendship of Mr. and Mrs. Goodwin.
They were really people of the highest character ; they
were not without prejudices, but their moral tone was
so elevated, that these did not interfere, I suppose, very
much with their line of conduct. Of course my father
and mother, being much below them in birth and early
advantages, and being in fact quite subordinates in
business, consulted their employer with some defe-
rence, upon any point on which they needed advice;
and it was seen at once that they asked it with a real
wish to profit by it, and not for the sake of merely talking
over their affairs. It was owing partly to these free
consultations of my father and Mr. Goodwin, that we
were brought up better than many of our neighbours.
It was a great help to have our whole position over-
looked by some one who, standing higher than ourselves,
saw how the world was going on, and what would be
best for us on the whole ; what sort of education would
HJRPLES AND BLUES.
probably be most useful, and what we had better keep
in view ; but I don't think either my father or mother
would have been guided thus, had Mr. and Mrs. Goodwin
been mere worldly people. It was because they honoured
their motives, their characters, their whole career ; and
my father was a religious man, though he and Mr. Good-
win did not take the same views on some points, for my
Miner, perhaps inheriting something from his Walloon
ancestors, liked the style of Dissenting worship ; though,
led by my mother's steady attachment to the Church,
and agreeing with her in love to its doctrines, he always
attended her once a day to our parish church, and only
occasionally worshipped with an independent congrega-
tion. The clergyman and the Dissenting minister were
not unfriendly. They each visited us. We were, how-
ever, all of us baptized, and in due time confirmed, in
the church. Mr. and Mrs. Goodwin were themselves
steady church-goers, and stood sponsors to one or two
My dear mother was for all that time of her life which
I remember best a sufferer from spinal disease. She
was never able to go beyond the church, or to some near
neighbour's ; or in summer, which was a great delight,to
Mrs. Goodwin's beautiful garden.
She never gave up her place, however, as directress of
the household. From the low couch, where mostly- she
lay, she issued her orders. Her faithful Molly, the
young maid-of-all-work, the active, incessant woman of
business, who was brought up by my mother, took these
orders, and executed them ; but we knew from whence
they came, and felt sure that my mother knew every-
thing about us, nearly as well as if she had followed us
from place to place; and I do not think anybody
PURPLES AND BLUES.
doubted that Mrs. De Carle's household was kept in as
much order as any other in Hulme.
But you want to know something of our smaller
selves. My two elder brothers were twins, as unlike
as twins usually are. Lawrence tall and thin, Dick
short and stout ; Lawrence a very handsome boy, Dick
plain; Lawrence somewhat nighty, Dick plodding,
steady as time ; Lawrence all on fire about whatever was
going on in our outward world ; Dick rather absorbed
in matters of natural history ; in chemistry, having his
museum of quaint curiosities, in fossils and in anti-
quarian relics. A sister came next, Rachel by name.
We had had a brother and sister ; who had both died
in infancy. Then I myself appeared I was named
Matthew- my birth placing me five years below my
twin brothers. Lastly one little pet girl. Margaret.
Here you have us all.
PDEPLES AND BLUES.
PURPLES AND BLUES.
MY recollection takes me back to a part only of
Lawrence's and Dick's school- days, but that part stands
out very clear. I never was with them at the Free
School; but being ambitious, and anxious, above all
things, to be somebody in our little world, I listened
with open ears to all their stories of school doings,
warmed up at the history of their battles, and devoutly
shared all Lawry's strong likes and dislikes, and party
notions. Blended with all these, was the impression I
derived from my intercourse with the only constant com-
panion of my early years, my sister Rachel. Neither
she nor I had, in fact, anybody else to play with and
talk with. She was older than myself, by more than
three years ; consequently her reading was of a more
varied kind, and she made more of it than most girls
could, because she had a thoughtful, poetical turn. She
told stories capitally; she had grand notions, drawn
from ancient history, of heroism and patriotism, and
what men and even boys might be, and she lifted me up
with her strong words, and made me feel something of
a hero in spirit. She shared my admiration for Law-
rence, but not to the same extent ; he did not satisfy her ;
PURPLES AND BLTJES.
his tone, she sometimes said, looking wise, was not high
enough. I did not understand her, however, but I was
made romantic to some extent by her.
Every now and then Lawrence brought home, on
holiday afternoons, some of his friends among the boys
What glorious afternoons those were ! Especially if the
party of boys did not start off at once, to a great dis-
tance, for a country walk, as, in summer, they were apt
to do, or take boat on the river, or go out to bathe ; in
which cases I was not allowed to accompany them, and
had to stay with Rachel at home. But if the weather
was bad, or it was winter time, we had capital doings
on the premises ; for the range of buildings attached to
our house was long and large, and, if we did not intrude
upon the counting-house or weighing-rooms, we had
liberty to play, or read, or speechify in an unused room.
It was there that Lawrence one day got up a grand mock
trial of a recreant school-boy, one who should have been
a " blue," and was suspected of turning " purple." This
notable piece of poetical justice was executed just after
one of our city elections, when the boys of the Free
School were particularly stirred up, and were all, accord-
ing to the part taken by their parents, either Whigs
(Blues), or Tories (Purples).
I remember, as well as if it were yesterday, the scene.
A great heavy, fat boy, Mott, was seated as judge ; the
jury was made up, as well as time and space allowed, of
small and great ; I myself being one, with Rachel and
little Maggy. Lawrence was the lawyer for the pro-
secution, and Dick was ordered, against his will, to
plead, which he did feebly enough, for the defendant,
who was a man of straw, got up for the occasion, stuffed
PURPLES AND BLUES.
into one of the oldest coats that was to be found, ant?
turned in the most ignominious manner, hung round
with bits of purple ribbon.
How Lawrence did rant and rave, and throw his
arms about, and look virtuous and indignant, and hurl
out the big words of patriotism, freedom, citizenship,
and so on ! How grand I thought him ! I, one of the
smallest of the impannelled jury, clapped with all my
might, after a burst of eloquence, and thought it a
shameful thing that the fat boy, who sat as judge,
cried "silence!" and forbade "all expressions of ap-
plause," which virtuous and impartial conduct Rachel
Then Dick got up to speak in defence, and but that
he was my own dear brother Dick, could I not have
hissed him ! I thought it so downright mean in him to
speak a word for a Purple, especially a Purple who had
been a Blue ; but it was a great comfort that he had very
little to say, and that that little was dull and quiet ; how
unlike the burning eloquence of Lawrence !
Then the judge charged, delivering a striking oration
in praise of consistency in political principles ; and then,
before he had done, the jury, all but Rachel, roared out
"guilty," without waiting to be asked; and the judge,
with great dignity and solemnity, put on the cap and
delivered sentence, which we in great fury executed
on the straw man ; only we pulled him to pieces in
our wrath, leaving absolutely nothing of him to be hung
by the neck, till he was dead, dead, dead ! according
to the sentence.
So, you will see, I was not likely to go to the Free
School without my prejudices, and so, in fact, all Hulme
boys did. Just during the years of my brothers' and
PURPLES AND BLUES.
*nv education, I believe these things might be at the
"yery \vorst. There were many excellent men in Hulme,
steady and independent, who resisted the tendency to
turn everything into party matters, who would be friends,
if possible, with the good of all parties j at all events,
^v-ere respected by all, whether they visited at each
others' houses or no ; but the prevailing idea among the
politicans of our city, was that their own particular
party must be upheld, and the other kept down, and
they acted out this idea through all the connections of
life. If a living was to be given away, if a small clerkship,
if a poor man or woman wanted a place in an almshouse,
if a boy was to be got into a charity or corporate school,
if a broken-down tradesman was to be helped, then and
there our worthy citizens were sure to make a battle
about it. The Blues and the Purples rallied each around
their respective standard. Livings, almshouses, pensions,
schools, all were fought for, as if life and principle
depended upon the contest. It mattered not much
whether the people they took up or put down had any
political opinions at all of their own, but it was a matter
of connection. If the father's or uncle's vote was wanted
by the Purples, he was promised by that party that his
boy should have a place in the school, or that some
relation should be put into an almshouse. Of course the
Blues tried to outbid the Purples, and so the strife was
brought down from high to low, from old to young.
It would have often been ridiculous, if it had not been
so sad. The head master of the Free School should of
course have been chosen only for his learning and worth,
but this was not the notion in Hulme, and there never
was a sturdier fight than that between the two parties,
not to get the lest man, but their own man. As it hap-
PURPLES AND BLUES.
pened, both candidates were deserving, though my father,
for one, considered we had not got the very best, and
when the head master came to appoint his ushers, he, of
course, preferred those who would please his party. So
that the Purples in our school carried everything before
them, and my father, a moderate Blue, not choosing to
lose the benefit of a good and cheap education for his
sons, could only hope there would be no partiality shown
in the treatment of the scholars themselves.
And Lawrence and Dick always declared that there
was not, at least not in school-hours. Blue boys and
Purple boys learnt their lessons side by side. They
were praised or punished according as they deserved,
and as far as competition in learning was concerned, all
was fair and generous. But when they turned out of
school, then it was that the fights and chaffing began.
Especially if there was any chance of a contested election,
what a putting on and pulling off of cockades ; what
brave attempts to carry banners ! It was really not
always safe for quiet people to venture, into the Close at
those times when the Free School boys were let loose.
My father and mother were anxious enough, not that
they feared for my brothers' safety, but they did not
like their being involved so young in party broils.
Dick was steady and sensible; and generally worked
through, but Lawrence's fights were no joke, and he got
into no end of trouble, and kept my father always at
work settling matters with aggrieved boys' parents ;
and he took Lawrence away sooner than Dick, partly on
this account, partly because he wished to have him
employed under his own eye. Mr. Goodwin, a kmd
considerate employer, himself a Purple, but allowing
PUEPLES AND BLUES.
more than was usual in Hulme to the conscience of a
respectable independent man like my father, consented
to his entrance into a sort of nondescript place in the
department filled by the warehousemen, of whom ou?
%ther was head.
PUEPLES AND BLUES.
AS I have before said, I did not myself go to school till
some little time after my brothers left. How well I
knew its porch and door of entrance, however. Near it
had I, a litfcle fellow, very recently inducted into jackets
and trowsers, come occasionally for a walk with the
maid and baby, and she had pointed out the awful door,
and I had heard distinctly the hum of boys within, and
occasionally the whizzing and thwacking of a cane on
some idle boy's shoulders. What a tremendous thing !
what if that idle boy should be one of my brothers ! but
no, it could not be, they were far too good for that.
Then, as times went on, and I grew older, and was sent
fco a preparatory school for little boys, I still, as my
school quarters were not far from the Close, took a sly
peep at the door before I returned home. It happened
to me more than once to be knocked down by a bevy of
rough day-boys, when I had ventured rather too far
for the purpose of hailing my brothers. They picked
me up and brushed the dirt off my clothes, but did not
give me, not Lawrence at least, a very cordial reception.
They seemed a little ashamed of me, very cool towards
the small brother, especially if at a distance they caught
a glimpse of the maid, who, with little Maggy, was to
keep a look out for me on my homeward way, for then
PURPLES AND BLUES.
the big boys were sure to shout out that the three little
Master De Carles were sent for by their mamma, and
must walk home with the maid and baby.
I meanwhile was of course impatient of being put to
school to a woman, and yet it was no bad lot to be under
the excellent Miss Grey, and I certainly owed much to
her when, on my entrance at last into the Free School, I
was found to have been thoroughly well grounded.
Quiet and competent, a well-instructed woman her-
self, conscientious, religious, wholly without cant, she
plodded on, and made her scholars plod, not at all pro-
PURPLES AND BLUES.
fessing to turn work into play, bnt yet infusing spirit
into it. I suppose if any one had asked whether Miss
Grey was an entertaining teacher, the answer would
have been an immediate, rather decisive, " No," and a
smile too. But see what it is to have an intimate sense
in one's-self of the good of work. She did manage,
most certainly, to give us all the cheerful pleasure which
she herself felt in conquering difficulties. Comparing
her with some modern teachers who profess to make
learning very amusing, she might not satisfy many.
She would laugh her good-humoured laugh, and say,
" Well, you know, when you teach a child to read, there
are different ways of doing it. Some will give the word
* B, a, t,' bat, accompanied by a pretty picture of a bat,
and some very amusing stories. The same by ' d, o, g,'
dog. Now, I own I think the fact of having got the
knowledge of the word, and the letters composing it, is
enough ; and if you manage it rightly, ifc is a good and
pleasant thing to get these little pieces of knowledge for
their own sake only ;" and so she went on to higher
learning, giving a few absolute rules, not to be broken,
and forming habits of order and arrangement in our
minds. I made with her some good beginnings in gram-
mar (Latin and English), in arithmetic, and geography,
and she taught writing and reading well. We learnt
our Catechism with her, too, and we always began the
day by reading a short portion of Scripture ; and I do
think we all liked it ; she was so well informed and so
pleasant about it, and loved the Bible herself so very
much, that we caught her tone unawares. In another
way this sensible, good woman showed more firmness
than the masters of the Free School. She absolutely
put an end to our little demonstrations of partisanship,
FUIli'LES AND BLUES.
not at any moment, nor under any pretence, not even
during the fun and mischief of a busy election, would
she suffer any of us to bring a fragment of party colours
to her house. Be it Blue, or be it Purple, all was in-
stantly destroyed. " What a pity !" she would say.
"Don't think I do not love colours. It is partly because
I like them so very much that I can't let you little fel-
lows make them into things to quarrel ever."
I, for one, as I grew older, especially, did not find in
Miss Grey any match for my fiery Brother Lawrence,
Jind of course I grew impatient of petticoat government,
and glad enough was I when my father told us at dinner
one day that I was to enter the Free School after Easter.
How my heart beat ! Lawrence, I remember, pre-
dicted that I was not half plucky enough, and should
come crying home every day for a week, which pre-
diction I indignantly rejected. Rachel and I had many
private conferences, and, as I remember, she said some
clever and wise things, but, alack ! they were much too
grand and too general, and did not touch the point.
Lawrence used to laugh very irreverently at Rachel's
wise saws. I am afraid he was sadly low in his code of
schoolboy morality. He said she was making a spooney
of me, and was a great deal worse than Miss Grey for
Miss Grey had plain common sense, and was not foolish.
Slie called a spade a spade, but Rachel was misty about
it. My brother Dick, whcm I was very fond of, though
he did not rule me as Lawrence did, was for the
present provided for. His scientific turn led him into
intimacy with a good chemist of our old city, a Mr.
Drake, who was taken with the boy, and advised his
being apprenticed to his own business, offering advan-
tageous terms, with which my father had no objection
PURPLES AND BLUES.
to comply ; so while Lawrence went on all sorts of busi-
ness for Mr. Goodwin, visited the weavers, the wharves,
and even was sent occasionally some miles into the
country to see how the stuffs ordered were going on,
picking up all the time odd stores of manners and
customs, and growing familiar with the habits of both
country and town people, Dick handled pestle and
mortar gravely, weighed ingredients accurately, studied
prescriptions with slow caution, and made up pills and
draughts with admirable neatness.
PUEPLES KSD BLUES.
THE FREE SCHOOL.
I AM keeping you a long time from the Free School. At
last, then, enter Matthew de Carle, age eleven, rather
tall of his years, tolerably strong, light hair, sparkling
bright eyes, a little hurried in his gait, turning into the
room in a bustle, as if to get it over. One might have
seen a lurking self-importance about his manner, and
indeed it is true that he quite meant to be somebody.
He meant, for instance, of course, to be a real staunch
friend to every oppressed little Blue boy, to offer his
services to the party heart and soul ; to be a worthy
brother and successor to Lawrence and Dick.
Now for the reality. As well as I remember, I was
conscious chiefly of a broad stare from all the boys as a
new comer ; of being hustled into a bad, cold corner,
quite good enough for a new boy ; of being allowed very
scant room to sit down : and of not knowing where to
put my nice new cap, and my difficulty being obligingly
helped out by a boy, who suggested, as the best place,
the empty grate of the large fire-place, where no fire was
now likely to be made for some time to come ; to which
I objected on account of the soot. In due time I was
called up to be examined and placed according to pro-
ficiency ; and here I came off very fairly, and was pat at
once higher than some much larger boys, on whom, un-
PURPLES AND BLUES.
luckily, I cast a look of triumph, which they returned
by making horrible faces at me. I was vexed, but took
the place and learnt my lesson, which occupied no long-
time, for that first morning after the holidays was de-
voted to examinations.
At twelve o'clock we turned out, and that was my
hour of happy anticipation. Alas ! what a disappoint-
ment ! I hastened to introduce myself. I, Matthew de
Carle, a Blue among Blues. Would you believe it ?
the Blues would not have me ! they sneered, and said I
was a raw little conceited fellow, who must be well taken
down and taught manners. I was not big enough to
fight my own battles, and what good could I do them.
I must keep myself to myself, and grow a little taller,
and not look such a prig, and perhaps I might one day
be worth something. I meekly named " Lawrence and
Dick de Carle my brothers." " Oh, yes ! they believed
there had been such boys ONCE in the school. Was not
Dick that old man who was bald, and wore a blue cotton
handkerchief over his head to keep the cold off, as he
sat pounding drugs at the corner of Drake's the chemist's
shop ? and very like I was to him, to be sure ; and was
not Lawrence the man who was taken up some time ago
for sheep stealing ?" Did ever mortal hear of such indig-
nities ? Of course I was in utter wrath and disdain,
which made them chaff the more. It may be supposed
that when Lawrence and Dick came home that evening,
they eyed me with some curiosity. Truth is, I was much
crest-fallen. To Rachel I was almost sulky ; to my
brothers I gave a passionate account of what had passed.
Lawrence laughed with might and main. " I told you
so," he said ; "I was sure you had not got pluck enough ;
but never mind, it will come in time. Stick tight to
PEKPLES AND BLUES.
the Blues, civil or no." Dick showed greater sympathy,
though he too was diverted at the caricature of himself,
but privately he told me that he knew there were some
very clever boys just now among the Purples, though
Lawrence would not own it, and he added, " and good
fellows, too, Matthew," which made me stare at Dick.
Next day, as I passed the back window where Dick
(though without the blue handkerchief) sat pounding
his drugs, I felt revived by his kindly nod, and went on
my way in good heart. Certainly I did grow a little
more hardy as time went on. I learnt not so much
to mind it, when I was tenderly and confidentially
asked whether I had heard lately from my brother
Lawrence at Botany Bay, and listened quietly to some
observations about the old man at Drake's having
changed his blue cotton handkerchief for a purple one
but at this period of my experience I had come to
have a mortal aversion to the whole generation of boys
about me. I was foolish enough myself, no doubt, but
in the way I had been brought up, with my mother, and
Rachel, and Dick near at hand, and with Miss Grey's
really refined sort of tone, I could not be vulgar and low,
though I was but a warehouseman's son. Even Law-
rence, who was far from nice in speech or manners, had
the heart of a gentleman, and he was improving, because,
in spite of the love of gossip and party spirit, he could
not be contented without reading and picking up sound
information, and he was noticed by clever men, who saw
his intelligence, and wished to help him also ; and this I
am quite clear about, fair judges must have seen that he
had a clear, honest mind, except when mere party obscured
his vision. I was very sensitive on one point, and un-
luckily the boys found it out. Miss Grey had been par-
PURPLES AND BLUES.
ticular about my dialect, and as I really knew th-e right
from the wrong, I was disposed to set my schoolfellows
right too often, and when they questioned me as to my
authority, I gave Miss Grey as a matter of course. You
can fancy what an unfortunate move it was for me.
Every sort of ridicule was thrown on my instructress
and on me. Now, I had been quite alive to the degra-
dation of remaining too long under a woman's teaching,
but when it came to the point, and my own scholarship
was involved, I quite forgot all this, and hurried on,
vehemently defensive of Miss Grey, and all her doings.
This made me more an outcast than before. In the
bitterness of my soul I told Rachel that I hated school,
and hated the boys, all of them. They were a set of
vulgar, ill-behaved blackguards. This was strong;
Rachel demurred. She was always slow in speech-; she
seemed to be reasoning out her words as they came.
She gave forth a sentence at last to the effect that the
fault was, perhaps, partly mine; that I had set myself up
too much at first. It so happened that Lawry, coming
into the room, heard her say this. "Well done, Rachel,"
said he ; "I didn't think you had such sense. 'Tis the
truth, depend upon it. Master Matthew has been
giving himself grand airs, and the boys won't bear it :
they'll give him a thrashing one day ; serve him right,
too." So I was to have no pity at home, and no com-
fort at school ; but it was not a bad thing for me. I
begun by degrees to think less of myself, and to pay
more honest attention to those about me. An oppor-
tunity occurred of doing a civil thing for one of them,
and having done it the best I could,! began to like him,
and he took hugely to me. If we did not see what a
wonderfully capricious thing popularity is everywhere,
PURPLES AND BLUES.
we might marvel more at a set of boys turning round
in a short space of time, and making almost a favourite
of me, but it was so ; and then followed, as an almost
invariable sequence, the dangers of prosperity, and these
were as great as those of unpopularity had been. It
was so amazing to find myself made much of, I thought
it a striking proof of my own merits. I was certainly a
clever boy ; the masters had said so, and my moves
upward had been rapid.
PURPLES AXD BLUES.
BUT, above all, it was in my favour that there was
just then a greater lull in party politics than had been
known for some years in Hulme. There had been no
contested election lately, no grand opportunities for
Purples and Blues to signalize themselves. It seemed
even doubtful whether an opposition would be stirred
up, if by any circumstance one or both members were to
be removed, or Parliament were to be dissolved. A
compromise was much advocated. Parties were so
nearly balanced, that except by the old work of bribing,
or treating, or frightening, it was very well known that
the town would be fairly represented by having two
members of opposite politics. The violent on both
sides did not like this, of course ; but as I have said,
there was a lull, and all sensible, benevolent, quiet
people wished the truce might last.
It certainly was a good time for the Free School.
We well nigh forgot our animosities, and fought,
when we fought, good round battles, not for little bits of
coloured ribbons, but for matters about which we
could judge better. We played at soldiers, and
it was not a mere idle game, but a serious, weighty
truth, affecting all England more or less, that we might
be called on very soon to repel a French invasion, for there
PURPLES AND BLUES.
was Bonaparte's camp pitched near Boulogne, watching
us greedily, and he was ready with his eagles to swoop
down upon us; and how could we boys, countrymen
of our own Nelson, help being warmed and excited by
the thought? So we learnt our exercises, and were
drilled in martial style, and our elder brothers took then-
turn, to march with their corps of volunteers, to guard
the sea-coast, for two or three weeks at a time in suc-
Lawrence went with one division, Dick with another,
to Riversmouth, where they were to be quartered ; and
how well I call to mind how handsome Lawrence looked
in his regimentals " Ensign De Carle" he was called
and how when he came back he told us all his adventures,
especially about the Black Brunswickers, a band of
brave men, who, under their chief, the Duke of Bruns-
wick, had escaped through incredible hardships from
the French, and had found a short resting-place on
English shores. I sat by and heard Lawrence tell of
their black uniforms, the white death's-head and cross-
bones on their caps, and their remarkably youthful looks,
which had struck him particularly ; for he said many of
them were mere boys, with fair long hair twisted round
their heads ; yet they were well-proved soldiers.
Lawrence told us, too, how he had seen them devouring
barley-sugar, and all the sweet things they could get,
just like children in the shops. I suppose it was a home
indulgence, and these poor fellows, who had long been
deprived of every luxury, found the confectioners' shops
their greatest temptation.
Well, as I tell you, all this was a diversion and
improvement on the mere 'party battles we had had
before, and I went on growing and getting on in school ;
PURPLES AND BLUES.
but then came, at the last year of my school life, all at
once a terrible outburst, the worst, every one said, that
ever was known in Hulme. It was a furiously-contested
city election. For weeks beforehand the old town seemed
to have gone mad ; from the bottom ring of the social
ladder to the top it was a fearful fight, and of course we
Free- School lads were in the thick of it. The masters
checked us. Not only we were not allowed to show
colours in the schools, but a rule was made and
strongly enforced against carrying on our battles in
the Close. We had plenty of other places of meeting,
however, but we got into sad scrapes during those weeks.
We took it into bur wise heads to persecute two or three
obnoxious persons whom we fancied had behaved ill to
us. There was one old gentleman to whom the Purple
boys bore a spite because he had informed against them
for breaking his window a mere accident only as he
was a Blue, his information was enough to anger the
Purples ; and it was not difficult to make the old gentle-
man's life a little uncomfortable by bribing organ-boys
and serenaders of all kinds to keep up a constant
series of noises under his windows. And then there was
a certain rather great lady, the widow of a dean, whom
the Blues specially disliked because she had complained
of their rudeness and uproar as they came rushing
out of the precincts, once all but knocking her, the
Honourable Mrs. Plummer herself, down. Now, though
a Blue, I did manage to keep clear of plots against Mrs.
Plummer. My mother knew her, and she was a par-
ticular friend of Miss Grey ; and, besides, I declared once
for all, I would have nothing to say to any Blues who
waged war against a woman. So I knew nothing about
the matter, and hoped it was all at an end. It was not,
PUEPLES AND BLUES.
however, but it proved to be harmless spite enough,
though it made her very angry.
The old lady gave nice, select supper parties, and
our boys found out when the next was to be. Near her
house (which was in an ill-lighted corner) a pile of
bricks, and some mortar had been left by the workmen
who were repairing a neighbouring dwelling. It was
proposed to build Mrs. Plummer and her guests up as
soon as they were assembled, and I believe the work was
cleverly executed. The front doorway was filled up by
roughly-executed masonry, and when the hour of dis-
persion came the guests found no means of exit
except through the kitchen and scullery ; where to
the infinite diversion of some of the concealed cul-
prits, the greatest of our city magnates, and certain
Canons, with their ladies, were obliged to take their
departure most in gloriously. The joke had of course
a high savour ; but the secret was well kept, and
never, I fancy, divulged. The barricade was cleared
away by workmen before the Honourable Mrs. Plum-
mer's breakfast hour, and it was only whispered in Blue
circles to what an indignity the Purples had been sub-
jected. Mrs. Plummer herself looked more stately than
usual, but preserved a dignified silence.
PURPLES AND BLUES.
AIT UNEXPECTED STROKE.
WELL, all this would not have mattered very much to
me and my story ; but Lawrence unfortunately at that
time got into disgrace with Mr. Goodwin ; worse still
with his partner. Mr. Goodwin had up to this period
been a very moderate Tory, but he had taken a turn ; he
believed the Whigs to be dangerous to Church and State,
and thought every true Englishman should be a Tory.
He was far too just to impress my father on his side. He
knew that he should not conquer in argument, for my
father was extremely rigid in his notions of political
honesty, and had his own fixed sentiments. Mr. Briggs
would have dismissed him I believe ; but of course, as
my father well knew, this idea was mere moonshine ;
so he went about his work steadily. He voted against
his employer, but made no bustle.
It was otherwise with Lawrence. He signalized
himself by taking part with two or three weavers, who
were threatened by Briggs, their landlord, with being
turned into the street if they voted for a Blue. Lawrence
was known to have backed them up, and after they were
turned out he helped to raise a subscription for them.
This, in a young man employed as matter of favour to
my father, could not be borne even by amiable Mr.
PURPLES AND BLUE3.
Goodwin. He told my father shortly, but decidedly, that
Lawrence must leave, and advised his being sent out of
Norwich. He added a few words of general regard for
the youth's moral character, but said he was one of
those who would stir up sedition wherever he could,
and his best chance was to go somewhere, where he
would be made to work hard, and have no time to
meddle with politics.
That was a very important night in our family lives.
We all assembled at supper as usual. Lawrence knew
of his dismissal, and was rather silent and dull ; no one
else, save my father, was aware of it. My father, how-
ever, then and there told us exactly what had passed.
He spoke very kindly. He would not allow us to
complain of Mr. Goodwin. He said Lawrence was very
young, little more than a boy : and that he had made
himself too conspicuous, and Mr. Goodwin had a perfect
right to dismiss him, and had given him sound advice
on the whole.
Still we young ones were indignant, and protested
that Lawry had done nothing but what was right. My
father half smiled. " You don't understand the ques-
tion, you young folks ; it is whether violent young poli-
ticians like Lawrence are to be tolerated in running
counter to their employers in action"
"Well, father," said Lawrence, at last, " I don't
mean to dispute Mr. Goodwin's right, and I do wish
you would send me away somewhere. I shall never be
out of the mess here, I know."
It seemed very like truth ; so on that night there
came into our house, for the first time, the notion which
comes to all homes sooner or later, of a break-up
in tht? family circle j and my dear mother's eyes filled
PURPLES AND BLUES.
with tears, as she looked np at Lawry's handsome face,
while he turned his loving glance at her, and we all set
np a small outcry of dismay ; yet it was not very loud.
We all thought it a right and plucky thing in Lawrence
to wish to go ; and were proud of his giving up all
rather than his " principles." Even sober Dick, so
pacific in general, blustered a little about liberty^and
We parted for the night and went to bed, we young
ones at? least, with a dash of the spirit of self-gratulation,
with a notion that we were a somewhat heroic virtuous
family, ready to sacrifice our principal member to prin-
ciple ; that we were endeavouring to do our duty to the
common weal as men and Englishmen should.
In the morning there was considerably less of ex-
citement. We woke up to the reality of separation,
and my mother's spirits were low, and my father was
grave. He and Lawrence had some private talk, and the
result of it was, indeed, an awful one to us all. It seemed
that Lawrence's most intimate friend, a farmer's son
in the country, had come into possession of a few hun-
dreds, and felt strongly tempted to take this money and
himself to Australia, there to buy sheep, and purchase a
run of land, and settle himself for a few years there, if
he could get a willing and active young man to take a
small share with him, and partake his shepherd's lot.
The prospect was reasonable and good. The young
farmer's friends were well known and much respected,
and when Lawry expressed his wish to go with him,
my father and mother objected chiefly on the ground
of the distance and separation. It took time to get
over this, but Lawrence's mind was set upon it. He
Tras adventurous and full of resource. He knew that
PUEPLES AtfD BLUES.
at home lie should be a source of anxiety and expense
to my father, and deliberately thought that "bis friend's
offer to take him was worth accepting. Mr. Goodwin
not only approved, but most kindly offered to advance
a moderate sum for equipments and passage, and the
matter once decided, all arrangements were made with
as little delay as possible.
PURPLES AND BLUES.
YET it was a sad day to us when Lawrence drew my
mother, for the last time, in her garden chair, to Mrs.
Goodwin's beautiful garden, where she had liberty to sit
undisturbed, under the shade of two noble elms ; and
where Lawrence, Bachel and Maggy, and I gathered
It is well for us all that we can look so short a way
onward in life ; it comes next, perhaps, to the large and
mighty blessing of looking on for ever and ever, which
is permitted, nay inculcated, on us all. Had we known
then that we four should meet no more on earth, how
much more sad would that golden evening have been.
I could well see that it was a pain and grief to Lawrence
to leave us, as well as to us to lose him. I did not
often go to that garden after he left us ; neither did my
mother, for in the following spring she had an illness,
and before summer came she was no more. I always
thought she pined after Lawrence. That evening, how-
ever, how charming it was ! The short green turf of
the lawn, with small beds of flowers upon it. The
graceful spire of the cathedral rising close by us amid
the trees, while the rooks and daws kept up there con-
stant movement. The distant splashing of oars on the
PUEPLES AND BLUES.
river, and the hum of school-boy voices in the Close.
The organ was, to be sure, mute then, or we should have
heard its rich sounds. One of the greatest privileges of
old Hulme was the possession of many large gardens.
Even in what appeared the closer streets, if a side door
of a house stood open and you looked through it, you
would find that it admitted you into a pleasant back-
ground of turf and flowers ; but few gardens were so
beautiful as Mr. Goodwin's, and there was a picturesque
character given to it by jutting out fragments of the
old wall, covered with ivy and wallflowers.
Here, then, we sat, and talked out that last evening,
and in the morning Lawrence, really subdued and sor-
rowful, took his leave, and my father and Dick went with
him to the coach-office, where he was to take his place
for London, from whence the emigrant ship started.
It was a dull time after that. Letters from Australia
were long in coming, and I went and came to the free
school, till my father thought I ought to be doing
something in the way of learning a business. For
myself, I never had a notion of anything but being a
citizen of old Hulme, and my home had many at-
tractions still. Then I could not look at my mother
and not see that she was always thinking of Lawrence,
and that I, and all of us, must do what we could to
cheer her. Rachel and I did our best, and so did Dick,
in his leisure hours ; she was always gentle and kind,
and ready to be pleased; always too, it was easy to
see, her pious mind directed her to the true source of
comfort. Still the months moved rather wearily on ;
Lawrence had left us in autumn, and towards March
my mother caught one of her bad colds, and we all
PUSPLES AND BLUES.
trembled for her, not without reason. She just lived
long enough to hear the first letter from her son. It
was something of a comfort, no doubt, to see the dear
hand again, and he wrote cheerfully ; but my mother
could not like the sort of life that was in store for him.
He had reached the run of land which he and his
partner had taken, and had bought his sheep, but it was
nothing like an English farm. There they were, two
lonely shepherds, without servant, or neighbour, or
sight of man's or woman's face, for many weeks pro-
bably, from morning to evening. To fancy our
sprightly, sociable, merry Lawrence, the life of us
all, in his hut, or sitting on the hill- side watching
his sheep, feeling how slowly the sun marked out
the progress of time, longing to hear the sound of
a human voice, which never could be till night, when
he and his partner met at their usual meal of tea
and mutton, and damper, was very strange. He loved,
dear fellow, to make a joke of something. He told
my mother that Purples and Blues did not trouble him
now, for he had only the distant purple hills to look at,
and, farther still, the beautiful blue sky. My mother
sighed at the picture, but she looked up silently herself,
and I am sure there was a prayer sent from her heart
for the lonely watcher. That night she had a paralytic
stroke, which put an end to her blameless, useful life,
and our first letter to Lawrence had to announce this
event. He, meanwhile, kept on writing to her who was
no more. The letters would have comforted her. He
and his partner were prospering, were likely to be rich ;
and then of course they need not live their lonely lives
much longer. Indeed, to make an end of Lawrence
PURPLES AND BLUES.
here, I may add, that in about three years lie mar-
ried well, and settled near Melbourne; by that time
quite renouncing all thought of coming back to old
For my father too was gone. He was carried off by
a prevalent and fatal fever, and I, who had been under
him at Mr. Goodwin's the last year, had it too, while
Rachel, who escaped, had, with our Molly and Maggy,
a heavy work in nursing. Dick, it was thought, had a
touch of it ; but his illness, whatever it was, fell on the
lungs, and the doctor said, if it were possible, he must
move to a milder climate. Just then his master heard
of a good assistant's situation in Devonport, and there
Dick, with our sorrowful consent, went. Then the
question was, where Rachel and Maggy should live.
Rachel thought she could get some day teaching in
Hulme, and wished to keep up a small home for Maggy
and me, as long as possible. So it was settled, and I
must say that those three or four years of our joint
lives were, if not brilliant, very happy ones. Friends
were all kind ; Rachel was warmly taken up, and was
liked in the families she assisted. Then our evenings
were never idle. A ticket was given us for the capital
old library of the city, and, if lectures worth hearing
were advertised, people thought of us and our small
means. My father's life had been insured, and Lawrence
would take no part of the little income resulting from
it ; so we managed to live comfortably, loving Hulme
better than ever.
But when I was just twenty-one, Mr. Goodwin, my
kind and liberal friend, made me a proposal which
changed all onr plans.
PURPLES AND BLUES.
I had not thought much of the future, but he had
thought for me ; and one day he called me into his private
room, told me that it was time to consider what my
look-out here was, and whether I could do nothing better
for myself. He said he could not himself advance me
much, but he had seen that I was industrious and rather
above my position ; in particular he knew I had been
studying German with Rachel, and had made myself a
pretty good scholar. He thought if I could get into one
of those German houses in Manchester or Liverpool,
where a knowledge of this language would be important,
it would promote my interest much above anything he
could anticipate at home. He mentioned one house in
particular, where they sent travellers to Germany and
all parts of the Continent, and had agents in several
places, and he offered to write, recommending me. Of
course I was grateful, though startled at first ; but
Rachel, sorry as she might be to break up our pleasant
little home, saw at a glance that it was an important
step for me. I had not made her anxious by my taste
for politics as yet ; but still she knew what was to come,
and while (for she was no coward) she did not want me
to shirk my duty, she felt sorry to think I must probably
by and by have to vex our good friend my employer,
as my father (spite of his quietness) had done, by taking
a different side to himself. By and by then we con-
cluded we must accept a good offer, if it came, and it
did come, and I took a sad leave of Rachel and Maggy,
and went to my new employers at Manchester. I did
not at all like the change at first. The house I lived in
with other young men was disagreeable. I wanted a
sister, or at least some nice, friendly woman to talk to
PURPLES AND BLUES.
now and then ; but I came across no one, in the easy,
quiet intercourse I liked. However, trying to make the
best of it, I was noticed and taken out to country houses
now and then by my town friends, and after a year or
two of foreign counting-house life, Messrs. sent me
first to Hamburg and then to Frankfort, and then I had
a long, long mission in Valparaiso.
Rachel, meantime, had seen reason to wish to join
our brother Richard at Devonport; for Maggy had
thought proper to marry a London young man, and she
did not wish to live alone.
Thus there really was no one left in old Hulme to
make me wish to return there. I went and came ; saw
much of the world : did not learn to love it perhaps the
more, for I did not find a real home anywhere, and I
did not marry, probably because I had so little time to
think about it.
But for the last two years, though I have felt myself
growing too old for that change, I have thought more
than ever of Lawrence and his wife and children in
Melbourne. I have been to see them once already, and
they wanted me to stop with them there, but I had
duties to do for my employers. Now I am past seventy,
and am my own master. I see that Rachel and Dick
do not want me. I shall leave them a share of my
savings, and so also by Maggy, and when I have seen
old Hulme again, and my father's and mother's, and
Mr. and Mrs. Goodwin's graves, I shall most likely take
passage for Australia at once.
I am going to-morrow to revisit the dear old
j>lace. No one will know me perhaps, but I shall
know every court, and lane, and old garden ; and 1 may
PURPLES AND BLUES.
see a face or two that I remember, and when I have
looked I shall say, " Q-ood bye for ever, dear old city of
Farewell, home of my fathers ; and, reader, fare you
THB LAND OF EXILB LEFT BEHIND.
EXILES OF BEKEZOV.
BY FRANCES M. WILBBAHAM.
" There is a Providence that shapes our ends,
Kough-hew them as we will." SHAKSFXAKB.
" TT EAVEN be praised, the ice is breaking up !"
*-*- The speaker of these words, a slight youth,
wrapt in furs, leaned over a low wall at the top of a
steep cliff, overlooking the Siberian river Irtish. Be-
hind him, on yet higher ground, stood what is called
the " higher town " of Tobolsk, capital of "Western
Siberia. Beneath lay the " lower town," a collection of
quaint yellow houses, built of wood. Far away, in the
hazy light of dawn, stretched a "steppe," or wide
waste of undulating ground, across which coursed many
streams, swollen by the melted snows from distant hill-
tops. These all ran into the already brimming Irtish ;
its waves rolled on, bearing on their bosoms huge
masses of ice, that looked solemn and ghost-like in the faint
morning light. Sometimes one ice-hill jostled another,
THE EXILES OF BEREZOV.
and then followed sounds like claps of thunder, far and
near, and the harsh noise of sharp edges rasping one
another. Many of the good people of Tobolsk hurried
from their beds to watch this break-up of winter, and
small craft began to ply close to the banks of the river,
where its course was tolerably clear. As day broke,
the scene grew more and more animated.
"Thank Heaven," repeated the youth, in Polish,
" there is a chance at last of getting away ! Four or
five days will melt these icebergs, and then adieu,
He raised himself with a joyful gesture, and saw
for the first time a face peering curiously into his. It
was a broad face, of the coarsest Russian mould, tanned
by many years of exposure to sun and frost, the eyes
small and greenish grey, the lower features buried in a
mass of grizzled, uncombed hair. " Wherein has Tobolsk
displeased Monsieur, that he is so eager to turn his back
upon it ?" asked this new comer, jocosely.
The foreigner drew back, for he was not yet used to
the Russian fashion of accosting travellers, and plying
them with questions ; moreover, he had strong reasons
for shunning inquiry. After a little struggle with
himself, however, his natural courtesy prevailed, and he
answered, " Tobolsk is well enough, if one has leisure ;
but for a man who wishes to push on, it is trying to be
detained three weeks by roads knee-deep in water, and
river-ice too rotten for sledging."
"And whither is Monsieur desirous of going?"
asked the Russian.
The Pole looked surprised at this further query,
but noting a good-humoured twinkle in the green-
grey eyes, answered, " I think of exploring up this
THE EXILE3 OF BEBEZOV.
stream and the river Oby, into which, if I mistake not,
" Ah, the Oby !" said the little man. " Father Oby
is an old acquaintance of mine ; my best friend, I may
say, as he yearly fills my nets with fish, and my pockets
with silver. Perhaps your honour has business at my
town of Berezov, the only habitable place up there ?"
"Really, friend, you catechise one strictly," said
the stranger, with a slight laugh. "Well, suppose I
had a commission from a great house at Kief, to bring
samples of Siberian*furs ; will that satisfy your curiosity ?"
"Good, good," said the little man, "I thought as
much ; wags say there are but three things to be found
at Berezov sable-skins, mosquitoes, and Polish exiles ;
one of the three I thought you must be after ! No
offence, I hope ?"
Our traveller winced, as though suddenly stung, and
the quick colour glowed in his face, but he controlled
his feelings, and replied sedately
" Offence ? none ; so far from it, I should rather like
to pick your brains as to that part of the world."
Here the little man cut him short by saying, " If
Monsieur will make the trip to Berezov in my vessel (and
a better does not ply on the Irtish), I will give him the
best information as to the prices of marten, squirrel,
mink, chinchilla, and reindeer-cub ! I will show him
how to deal with the wild Ostiak hunters that bring the
skins for sale ; nay, I can tell him of a dodge or two by
which he may outwit the old Russian fur-traders, crafty
knaves as they are ! Will Monsieur look at my boat?"
The stranger agreed to do so, on condition they
should start for Berezov as soon as possible after the
melting of the ice.
THE EXILES OF BEREZOV.
This, the little man replied, it was for his interest to
do, as the fishing season in the Frozen Ocean would
soon begin, and his boat had been one of the " Oby
fleet" for more than twenty years ; indeed, he might
say, took the lead in the yearly fishing expeditions. He
gave his address, " Peter Poushkin, owner and captain
of the ' Czar Nicholas,' " then shuffled down the hill at
a rapid pace, humming the Russian national air.
The stranger stood deep in thought, his gaze fixed
on the grey northern sky-line. " Papa, mamma, Frida,
my little sister," he murmured, stretching his arms
towards the icy zone ; " little bright-haired Frida, and
Alfie too, whom I have never seen, but who lisps my
name already, may I indeed hope to see you ? Will
your soft arms, my mother, be round my neck once
more ? Has Heaven such bliss in store for your Alarik ?"
Just then the sun's glowing orb appeared over the
shoulder of the cliff; in a momeut the twilight scene
became flooded with intense dazzling light ; rivers,
steppe, ice-masses, all glittered, and the crosses of
several churches that crowned the steep rock, caught
the ray, and twinkled like so many stars. Alarik
accepted the sudden glory as a good omen.
An hour later, Alarik had secured his place on the
" Czar Nicholas ;" the little bark did not quite answer
to its imperial name, its accommodation being small
and of the roughest. Its one private cabin, half filled
with casks of vodky (a kind of whisky), had been re-
tained for the "custom-house officer's lady" of Berezov
and her two daughters. Alarik preferred a shake-down
on the deck, as far removed as possible from the mingled
odours of fur, fish, spirits, and tar which came up from
below. Here, with plenty of wraps, he hoped to be
THE EXILES OF BEREZOV.
tolerably comfortable. By Poushkin's advice, lie laid
in a supply of groceries, etc., for some -weeks, there
being neither market nor shops at Berezov. During the
trip, which usually occupied about a fortnight, Poushkin
undertook to feed the passengers. For this he asked
from each an exorbitant sum beforehand, expecting as a
matter of course to have his demands beaten down to
half. Alarik alone paid the silver with dreamy indiffer-
ence, the little man muttering as he half unwillingly
pocketed it, " The youngster will never grow rich unless
he deals with the fur-traders in quite another fashion^
I must teach him to haggle for every paper rouble !"
From that moment he took Alarik under his protection.
Several days passed. On the 14th of May all was
ready for a start, and our traveller presented himself,
not without trepidation, at the police-office, to have his
passport examined. Luckily, Poushkin was on the
spot, and appeared to be hand and glove with the offi-
cials. He looked familiarly over the shoulder of the
man who inspected Alarik's papers, scanning our hero
narrowly as he did so. " Name Alarik Franz ; age
twenty-two (you don't look nineteen, young man) ;
business travelling clerk for L.'s, fur traders at Kief
(let us hope there is a grey head on those green
shoulders) ; eyes brown (good) ; hair chestnut (good) ;
complexion fair? (ahem, I should say brown)."
" Brown from travelling," put in Poushkin ; " no-
thing so tanning as March wind and sun. Go on,
" Height 5 feet 8," continued the officer (" 5 feet
10, /should have said").
" Lads grow," suggested Poushkin, oracularly. " Go
on s comrade."
THE EXILES OP BEEEZOV.
" Rather stout," read on the officer ; " nay, friend
Poushkin, what say you to that ? The lad is slim as a
" Of course, of course," returned Poushkin, una-
bashed, " what he has gained in height he has lost in
breadth ; 'tis as plain as the sun at midnight, as we say
"H my country ! Now, despatch our business, I prithee,
comrade, and I will bring a silver fox-skin for thy good
lady when I come back in the autumn."
Poushkin's eloquence prevailed, and he and his com-
panion were allowed to depart. By noon, captain,
passengers, and crew were assembled on the little bark;
the signal gun had been thrice fired, and the " Czar
Nicholas" was gliding out of sight of Tobolsk. For
the first few hours they proceeded cheerily along the
brimming river, a line of low blue hills on either side of
them, and rows of birches in budding leaf overhanging
the water. The aun shed down a marvellous warmth
and brightness, and the wild steppe answered to his
smile by a flush of faint green over its barren surface.
Snatches of song from the boatmen accompanying the
dash of their oars sounded pleasantly in the fresh spring
air. The passengers smoked, or chatted on deck, and
one or two busied themselves already with their
" Samovar " or tea-urn, the delight of every Russian
traveller, and often resorted to six or eight times in the
day. There were two or three respectable tradesmen's
wives on board, and they came on deck in holiday cos-
tume, wearing gold chains, and coloured silk kerchiefs
twisted round their heads. Far less picturesque looked
the daughters of the custom-house officer, who wore
French bonnets and mantles, and gave themselves airs,
on the strength of their father being a servant of the
THE EXILES OF EEREZOV.
crown ; they talked so much, and laughed so loud, as to
drive our young Pole in disgust to the furthest end of
the vessel ; there he sat, alone and silent, " chewing the
cud of sweet and bitter fancies."
I suppose you need not to be told that he was no fur
trader ; that the passport which Poushkin had induced
the Tobolsk official to wink at, had been made out for
another person ; that not minks nor martens, but his
own flesh and blood, were the objects of his search at
Berezov. Had he simply wished to visit his parents
there such disguise would have been needless, for the
Russian government not seldom allowed Polish exiles to
receive their friends, on parole as it were ; but a further
design had taken possession of Alarik's brain, a design
which would appear wild and impossible to older
people, in fact to all who knew how safe a prison-house
the vast realm of Siberia is. Alarik cherished a hope
that he might one day enable his father to make his
escape ! this thought had haunted him day and night
from early boyhood, had grown with his growth, and
strengthened with his strength, and now quite absorbed
him. So he sat brooding over it, tossed backwards and
forwards like a weaver's shuttle between hope and
despair. This strife might have endangered his reason,
but for a deep groundwork of religious faith that lay
at the bottom of his heart. It had been laid by his
mother, long ago, and after she had voluntarily followed
her husband into exile, it had been built up by a wise
and reverend clergyman of the Greek church to whom
his education had been entrusted. It had since borne
the ordeal of a year and a half at a military college, and
the still greater trial of coming into a large property
early, by the death of an uncle and godfather, iz>
THE EXILES OF BEREZOV.
Galicia. Probably the thought of his parents' suffer-
ings, and the ever-present longing to rescue them, had
been his safeguard through many of the temptations
incident to youth.
The result of Alarik's present musings was a firm
resolve to be doubly cautious as he drew near his goal,
and to let no one perceive that he took more than com-
mon interest in the exiles. He determined to be
guarded in his intercourse with Poushkin, as he had no
desire to make that good-natured, but coarse-minded
individual his confidant. He acted at once on these
resolves, by sauntering up to the idlers, and join-
ing in the gossip of the hour. Even the fast young
ladies acquired some interest in his eyes when he became
aware from their talk that they came from Berezov.
They had wintered in Tobolsk, they said, partly for the
sake of better society, partly on account of their
mother who was consulting the doctors for a sudden,
and, as it proved, hopeless affection of the eyes, not
uncommon in Siberia. The old lady herself had not yet
appeared, being unable to bear the cloudless sunshine.
Within fifty miles of Tobolsk the country becomes
perfectly flat and barren, with no sign of life save here
and there a Tartar hamlet with its mosque and slender
minaret ; but as you proceed north the scenery grows
bolder. The Irtish expands to more than a mile in
width, its current is very rapid and muddy, its channel
bounded on both sides by dense masses of willows,
beyond which rise high cliffs clothed with aged pines
and cedars. Here, in spring, the north wind often roars,
as through a tunnel. It proved so now ; our little vessel
creaked and strained ; the movement made most of the
passengers ill; the two young ladies lay dumb and
THE EXILES OF BEEEZOV.
helpless on deck ; even the " Samovar " was neglected ;
Poushkin's jokes were unheeded; Alarik, chilly and
miserable, fought against his feelings of discomfort, and
tried to help those who were in worse plight than him-
self. An opportunity soon presented itself to him of
being of service to the blind lady, whose nerves were
upset at this juncture by an alarm of fire in her cabin (
some careless lounger had sauntered in and sat down
on one of the spirit-casks to smoke at his ease ; he had
shaken the ashes out of his pipe as he departed, and a
spark lighting on some dry wood, presently ignited.
Happily Alarik's eye was caught by the blaze, he darted
in, trampled oat the fire, and good-naturedly soothed
Madame Prassenko's terror. From this time a friend-
ship sprang up between them ; he found her a simple-
hearted, " motherly body," as we say in England,
evidently the drudge at home, toiling, poor thing, to
procure for her girls the shallow but costly education
which led them to look down upon her. They stood
aloof, wondering and tittering at the intimacy between
their mother and the handsome foreigner, and quite at a
loss to imagine what he could find to interest him in her
What, indeed ? she, charmed to find a listener, and
encouraged by his cordial kindness, told him the sad
story of her blindness, how much the glare of three
months' uninterrupted daylight at Berezov had affected
her eyes, how she had not liked to complain, how the
Tobolsk doctor had said there was no remedy now ; six
months earlier there might have been ! Ah, it was hard
to reconcile herself to the will of the Lord ! But He
knew best, yes, doubtless He did, and she meekly
added, " Who knows but He has quenched my sight on
THE EXILES OF BEEEZOY.
earth, that I may the more surely see Him in heaven !
Yet, 'tis a hard trial, for I have the house and farm to
manage ; my husband is busy in bis office, and the girls
are good girls, but young and heedless and cows
need great care and experience : I have fifteen fine
cows, sir, and supply several good families in Berezov
from my dairy ; one family especially, of distinguished
exiles, I have served six years the name is Templitz,
Count Templitz, his lady and two children did you
ever hear the name ?"
It was well the eyes turned upon Alarik were sight-
less, or they would have detected his changing colour,
and quivering lips ; after a pause he said, " Templitz a
Polish name, is it not ?''
" Ay, Polish ; the count's is a hard case, poor
gentleman. He lived quietly on his property ; never,
they say, plotted against our good czar, but in evil
hour, harboured some that did ; so he suffered for it ; it
is the old story of the stork caught among the cranes."
" How does he bear up ?" asked Alarik, with a
" Ah, but poorly," she replied ; "he is pious, and
murmurs not ; but one can see that the home- sickness
is consuming him. He is ordered a milk diet for his
chest, and often when their Cossack is busy, the little
Baroness Frida comes herself for my cream. She loves
me, that dear child, and often opens her heart to me.
* Ah, Anna Timothevna,' she says, ' papa looks very ill
to-day, and I dare not say so to mamma, for she watches
him with such sad eyes, from behind the newspaper she
is reading to him ! Oh that I were old enough to go to
Russia, like that other exile's daughter, and fling myself
at your czar's feet, and beg papa's freedom ! I would
THE EXILES OP BEREZOV.
walk barefooted to Petersburg to ask it, I would indeed;
but don't tell mamma so, for she says the czar is not
good, at least to us Poles, and that papa would rather
die than ask a favour of him.' Then she hides her face
on my breast, poor lamb, and sobs as if her heart would
burst, and afterwards she seems comforted, and goes
with me to see the cows, and feed the hens. I always
send her back smiling, with a packet of dried fruits or
almond cakes for little Alfie, her brother."
" Her brother ?" repeated Alarik, in a low voice ;
" so the count has a son ?"
" Two sons," replied Madame Prassenko ; " one, the
little angel Alfie, not three years old, and one in Europe,
a fine young man, as I hear, and surely a good one, for
never does a mail-boat or sledge arrive without bring-
ing tokens of love to his parents, books, easy-chairs,
and I know not what besides. Oh, the tears of joy
that poor lady sheds over them, and over the letters she
receives from her dear boy. She and little Frida live
on the hope of a visit from him, when he becomes his
own master ; but ah, there will be little need for the
young gentleman to come here, for his father's days are
surely numbered, and should he die, his widow and
children will soon get leave from the emperor to return
The old lady's forebodings were interrupted by her
companion's starting up, as though in pain. Without
uttering a word, he rushed on deck, and there paced
up and down for some time with disordered steps. By
degrees his calmness returned, and urged alike by kind
feeling and prudence, he hastened back to the blind
"Ah," she said, "I feared an old woman's long-
THE EXILES OF BEEEZOV.
winded stories had frightened your honour away ; one
forgets that what absorbs one's self may weary another ;
Berezov, my world, my home, can be nothing to you."
" Pardon me," murmured Alarik, " I did but seek a
breath of air ; this cabin is so hot, so stifling ; as to
Berezov, I begin to feel an interest in it, and desire to
learn all you can tell me respecting its climate, its resi-
dents, its its fur-trade."
It needed no more to re-assure Madame Prassenko,
and during that and several following days, she retained
Alarik as her devoted listener. He was rewarded by
gleaning much information that might prove of use
eventually, and now and then some sweet and touching
detail respecting those most dear to his faithful heart.
On the eighth day they reached a village named
Samarov, and there entered on the Oby, a splendid sheet
of water in which the Irtish is lost. Many islets, over-
grown with weeping willows, dotted this river, and its
hilly banks were crowned with pines. Here the wind grew
so boisterous that they were obliged to lie at anchor
till its fury was spent. Alarik accompanied Poushkin
and some of the crew on shore, where they cut down a
noble cedar for a mast. He was refreshed by this little
trip, and brought back a bunch of wild currants, half
ripe, and a crimson peony, as harbingers of summer.
Further north, they espied a few "yourts," or settle-
ments of Ostiaks, and from these wild people Poushkin
obtained ducks, eggs, and fish, a welcome addition to
the flour dumplings and barley -gruel to which they had
been of late reduced. At every verst the country grew
more rugged and dreary ; the banks were crowned with
jagged cliffs ; huge masses of rock lay by the river-side
or protruded their sharp peaks from under the water,
THE EXILES OF BEREZOV.
rendering the most cautious navigation necessary.
Poushkin now showed himself quite equal to the occa-
sion cool, wary, and unflagging in his attention to the
vessel. This peril past, they sped on through wintry
scenes till on the fourteenth day they left the magnifi-
cent Oby, and entered on the Soswa, one of its feeders.
There a storm of snow and sleet met them, but it quickly
cleared off, and the evening sun shone out pale and
watery. All eyes turned northward, all feet rushed on
deck, all hands were joyfully clapped, with the ringing
shout, " Berezov ! Berezov !" A small cannon, " no
bigger than a rat," as some one observed, was dragged
on deck and fired three times to announce their arrival.
Alarik stood with a throbbing heart, looking towards
the town ; he could discern two churches on the top of
a knoll, overhanging the river ; one or two large houses
painted yellow near them, and a dark solemn back-
ground of endless forest. The rest of the town lay on
a lower level, and consisted of shabby, dingy houses,
the largest but two stories high. The place altogether
bore a melancholy aspect.
Poushkin and one or two more Berezovians kindly
asked our young stranger to take up his abode with
them, while looking oub for a lodging. He had, how-
ever, been already retained by Madame Prassenko, and
the more gladly accepted her hospitality, because he had
gathered that her house and farm were within a stone's
throw of his parents' abode. The "Czar Nicholas"
now cast anchor, boats came alongside, and after some
bustle and delay, our friends were landed on the quay.
There a crowd of all classes stood waiting to receive
them, the women in holiday garb and headgear of all
the colours of the rainbow. Mr. Prassenko elbowed
THE EXILES OF BEEEZOV.
his way through the throng, and there was an honest
warmth in the greeting he gave his blind helpmate that
struck and pleased Alarik. The girls even forgot their
Tobolsk airs in the genuine joy of seeing their father ;
so they were a happy party as they trudged together
through Berezov. There was no choice but to walk,
for neither cart nor carriage existed in the whole town.
Such walking as it was ! The ground, frozen all the
year round to a depth of full a hundred feet, had been
thawed on the surface by gleams of hot sun during the
last week ; so the streets were so many canals of mud,
with logs and planks forming a kind of " trottoir " upon
them, a most unsafe one for all but practised feet.
Happily Alarik was light and active, and so escaped
both a plunge into the quagmire, and the merciless
raillery of the young ladies, who would have been de-
lighted to catch him tripping. When they reached the
hill, and began to climb to the upper town, matters
improved ; the Prassenko dwelling was safely reached,
and Alarik, anxious to be alone, and also to leave the
family party to themselves, told his kind host he should
stroll about for an hour and then join their evening meal.
He well knew in what direction to bend his steps.
The Prassenko house stood on the edge of a cliff; and
another cliff frowned opposite, divided from it by a
narrow ravine, often flooded with water from the Soswa.
A rude bridge spanned the ravine ; Alarik crossed it,
followed a narrow path through a belt of pine-trees, and
found himself, not unexpectedly, in a wide grave-yard.
It had no boundary except the cliff on one side, and the
waving pine-forest on the other. At its furthest angle
stood a church, which threw its hallowed shade far
across the graves. A low house, surrounded with strong
palings, peeped out from behind the church, and w&
THE EXILES OP BEREZOV.
the only dwelling visible from that point of view.
Alarik's heart leaped towards this unknown yet beloved
spot, and he would have sought an entrance there at
once, but for the fear of encountering a certain Cossack,
attached by government to each household of exiles, as
a guard and spy. Should he attract this man's notice
and wake his suspicions, what might not the conse-
quences to his father and mother be? No, cruel as
this suspense was, he must make up his mind to bear it,
he must bide his time, watch and wait and collect all
his nerve and coolness, ready to spring on the first safe
opportunity for making himself known. While he
mused thus, two or three groups of people passed lei-
surely along the churchyard path and went their way.
Another group lingered behind and sought out a distant
grave, on which they laid a crown of everlastings. Alarik
meanwhile withdrew to a quiet spot, where a sort of glade
dotted with stone or iron crosses ran up into the forest.
Here one or two costly marble monuments marked the
resting-places of the more distinguished dead. A few
yellow sunbeams strayed in, between the boles of the
old cedars, and cast a rich gleam over those tombs.
"While he stood there, his eyes fixed with devouring
eagerness on that gabled house, a door in its paling
opened. Quietly, slowly, a little girl, perhaps nine years
old, came forth, wrapped in cloa'k and hood. He could
not doubt it was Frida, perhaps going to the Prassenko
farm for cream ; if so, he must accost her, but how should
he do so ? how make himself known to the little one
without startling her? He must take a moment to
decide this point, and waylay her on her return. In
one respect, however, he was mistaken. She was not
going to Prassenko's. No, she walked steadily along
the path a little way, then turned to her right, and made
THE EXILES OP BEREZOY.
for a tiny green mound close to the cedar against which
Alarik leaned. He remained spell-bonnd, his eyes fixed
on a funeral wreath which she held in her little gloved
hands. It was composed of pale green larch-twigs with
their rose-coloured tassels, delicate and lovely as the
infant on whose grave they were to rest. Alarik saw it
all now, the cross-shaped headstone, the name " Alfred
Templitz," the age three years ! He saw at a glance that
a fresh grief, keen and unlooked-for, had visited his
exiled parents ; that the babe whose sweet image lay
" deep in the mother's inmost heart " had been snatched
away, blighted most likely by the killing cold of that
polar region. It was a severe blow ; half-stunned, he
watched Frida, saw her hang her wreath on the head-
stone, adjust and re-adjust it, bend the knee a moment,
then turn away, as though not trusting herself to look
again. But the childish resolution failed. She did look
back, and then, unseen himself, he marked the colourless
little face, the expression of woe in the round childish
features, and large brown eyes. Softly she turned, and
throwing herself down, allowed her choking sobs to
have their way. Alarik was beside himself; he came
to her side at once, kneeled down close to her, and
taking one little hand in both his, hoarsely whispered,
" Frida, Frida I"
" Who are you ?" she asked, disturbed rather than
frightened by the apparition, the thought of Alfie
seeming to leave no room for other thoughts, still less
for fears. ,
" I am your brother, Frida," he answered, tenderly.
" My brother lies here," she said in a dreamy tone,
hugging the ground tight with both arms.
"Ay," he replied, " our brother lies here, but did
you never hear him lisp the name of Alarik ?"
THE EXILES OF BEREZOY.
She raised her brimming eyes to his face, with a
quick glance of sweet intelligence, wMeh brightened it
as sunshine does snow. " Often, often," she said; "and
you are Alarik, mamma's own Alarik? and you are
come to comfort her and poor papa ? Ah me, ah me,
The child's sobs redoubled, and shook to pieces her
weak, slight frame, but Alarik took her in his arms, an
clasped and rocked her there till she grew calm ; the
shiverings ceased, the testrs were kissed away, a feeling
of peace and protection stole over her ; by degrees she
became able to listen to and answer his questions ; and,
as she did so, he was surprised and charmed by the
quickness with which she caught his meaning, saw the
need of secrecy, and suggested the safest way of bringing
him to his parents. There was no guile in that childish
heart, all was clear and pure as crystal there ; only
early sorrows had added something of the needful wis-
dom of the serpent to the innocence of the dove.
They parted, but two hours later, at a concerted
signal, Alarik joined Frida at the paling, and was led
by her to the low chamber, where his parents aat
awaiting him with breathless impatience. Never, surely,
on earth, was there a more blissful meeting !
THE EXILES OF BEREZOY.
* Let net the water-flood drown me, neither let the deep swallow me op.*
A MONTH later all was excitement and bustle in Berezov.
The Oby fleet was about to start on its hazardous
voyage to the frozen ocean. A forest of masts curiously
rigged, and bright with flags of all colours, crowded
the river, and small boats plied between these larger
vessels and the shore, bringing the provisions and other
stores, needed for a three months' absence in that fear-
fully cold climate.
No one so busy or so important on this occasion as
our friend Captain Poushkin. His natural shrewdness
and courage, and his thorough knowledge of those
waters, had given him the lead among his brother
townsmen five and twenty years before, and his bound-
less self-confidence enabled him to keep it still, though
his eyes were growing dim and his sturdy limbs growing
Alarik, who after enjoying the Prassenko hospitality
for a week had engaged a lodging under Poushkin's
roof, was a good deal interested with these practical
preparations. Many were the weary hours when pru-
ilence forbade his hovering near his parent's dwelling,
and these he whiled away as best he might on the liver,
watching and often helping Poushkin at his work.
The night before the fleet started, Alarik witnessed
a new phase in Berezov life and in the character of his
grizly old host. The veteran's family, brothers, sisters,
cousins, grandchildren, all trooped together to spend
this evening at his house. A plentiful supper was laid
THE EXILES OF BEREZOY.
out for them, beginning with a " pirog " or raised cake,
dried fruits and Siberian cedar-nuts, and ending with
more solid fare, ducks, smoked and fresh, pickled geese
ft ad reindeer tongues. Vodky was handed round to the
men, and light home-made wine, prepared from rasp-
berries or currants, to the women.
Conversation and toasts had become loud and
animated, when Poushkin suddenly raised his hand as
a signal. A dead silence fell on all ; the company rose-
and followed him two and two into an inner room,
which was lighted with many tapers. Here, partly
screened by curtains, was an image of the tutelar saint
of the family, surrounded by other smaller images,
black and timeworn, but gaudily decked in gold and
The master of the house advanced slowly towards
this shrine and knelt down, touching the floor several
times with his forehead, and repeating a short prayer,
the purport of which Alarik was not sufficiently master
of Russian fully to understand. From Poushkin's
gestures, however, he gathered that the hoary seaman
was committing himself and those he was leaving
behind to the care of the Almighty. Tears ran down
his weather-beaten cheeks as he did it, and the family
responded with a chorus of sobbing and wailing which
Alarik could not listen to unmoved.
As soon as Poushkin rose from his knees, the party
fell again into a procession and escorted him to the
quay. They picked their way along the miry streets
by a strange mixture of moonlight and daylight, for at
this season the sun never dipped far enough below the
horizon to cause actual darkness.
Once on deck Poushkin was " himself again," loud,
THE EXILES OF BEREZOV.
jovial and bombastic, but shrewd and business-like. He
took leave of Alarik with a hearty kiss on both cheeks,
and a cordial wish that he might " prosper in his fur-
speculations, or whatever the object was that had
brought him to Berezov." A knowing wink accompanied
these words, and he added finally, " And remember, my
youngster, if you need the services of a trusty man
either for boating and hunting, or for trading pur-
poses, there's not one to compare with David the
Ostiak. I've named him to you before, a right-down
honest fellow, though a born savage ; a convert our mis-
sionaries may be proud of, and that's more than I cau
say for most of the Ostiaks, that hang copper crosses*
round their necks by day, and worship the larch-tree
by night! I've told you before where David may
always be heard of, at his t Yourt ' in the forest, half a
mile or so beyond Prince Menzikoff's grave."
Well was it for Alarik and all he loved that this
counsel of Poushkin's sank into his mind ; it proved to
be but no, I am running on too fast, you shall hear by
and by what it proved to be ; we must return to Alarik's
As he walked back to his lodging with a group of
Poushkin's grandchildren clinging about him, for he
had speedily become a favourite with the young ones,
he could not but own to himself that the old sailor's de-
parture was, in one way, a relief to him. Those prying
eyes, that inquisitive tongue, were a perpetual restraint
on his movements, and would have been still more
galling had any opening for his father's rescue pre-
sented itself to him. But, alas ! none appeared ; weeks
passed on, and Alarik's darling scheme seemed as far
from completion as ever. His heart sank as day by day
THE EXILES OP BEREZOV.
the impossibility of escape glared more and more upon
him ; with a view to it, however, he still rigidly pre-
served his incognito, and visited his parents by stealth,
and only at intervals of two or three days. On those
happy meetings we need not dwell, for I trust none of
my readers are so dull as to be unable to picture to
themselves the bliss of such interviews, green spots, as
it were, dotted over the weary wilderness of exile and
I would rather take them into the depths of the
cedar forest, whither, a few days after the sailing of the
fleet, Alarik betook himself in quest of David the
Ostiak. He set forth alone, for to say truth, the young
men left in Berezov were not much to his taste. He
thought them, with few exceptions, self-indulgent and
unmannerly ; cards and smoking were their chief occu-
pations, and when they did attempt field sports, nets
and traps were their only implements, the use of fire-
arms and cutlasses involving more risk than they chose
to expose themselves to. Alarik looked on such " sport"
as somewhat despicable, for his Polish bringing up had
inured him to fatigue and to some amount of danger in
hunting, so he felt more inclined when in the vast
forest to fraternize with its wild children, the Ostiaks,
than with the more civilized denizens of the town.
On the morning in question he had strolled some
way, pausing awhile at the green mound where Menzi-
koff, Peter the Great's spoiled and afterwards disgraced
favourite, sleeps his last sleep. An " endless depth of
solemn grove " stretched before him from this point, and
beguiled by the calm solitude and the fragrant scent of
those ancient trees he wandered on for t^o or three
miles, taking no note of time, and trusting to his little
THE EXILES OF BEEEZOV.
pocket compass for direction. At last he sat down on
a fallen tree to rest himself; for awhile he thought
himself alone, but as his eye grew more used to the
dense shade, he saw, or fancied he saw, a shadowy form
gliding amongst the boles of the trees, some way off.
Seized with curiosity, Alarik rose and turned his steps
in that direction ; presently he saw that the mysterious
intruder on his loneliness was a large dark brown she-
bear, of a kind not uncommon in that region. He had
never met with one before in his rambles, and felt
some desire to obtain a nearer view of the ungainly
animal. It was evident, however, that she was making
for her lair, and before he could draw near, she had
ensconced herself therein, between her two fine young
cubs whom she had left at home.
Alarik was about to withdraw from the spot, a little
disappointed, when he espied an Ostiak approaching
the lair alone, and cutlass in hand. These wild
foresters are absolutely reckless in their attacks on the
bear, delighting to brave it in its den, and often bear-
ing to their graves the scars of frightful wounds given
by the maddened animal in self-defence. Alarik watched
the contest that now began between man and bear with
intense interest. For awhile the creature had hung
back, as though peaceably inclined, and unwilling to
leave her lair ; but provoked at last by her assailant's
hostile gestures, and startled by the blaze of a lucifer
match, which he coolly ignited under her nose, she sud-
denly rose to her hindfeet and rushed on the enemy. Now,
a duel with a bear requires not only courage but great
presence of mind. It often happens that with all these
requisites the man gets the worst of it, and so it seemed
likely to prove on this occasion. li became evident to
THE EXILES OF BEREZ07.
Alarik, as lie stealthily drew near the scene of action,
that a grip of the bear's paw had almost, at the outset,
injured the Ostiak's right arm, so as to make it " forget
its cunning," and that the poor fellow fought on
gallantly, but at a terrible disadvantage. Alarik had
a rifle with him ready loaded, and several times tried
to take aim at the bear, but so interlaced were she and
the Ostiak, so rapid and jerking were their movements,
and so dim and chequered was the light in that sombre
place, that it would have been the height of rashness to
fire till he could do so with more precision. A fresh
attack from the enraged animal now caused the Ostiak
to drop his cutlass, and finding himself disarmed and
crippled, he changed his tactics and tried to make his
escape. But the blood was flowing from many deep
wounds and gashes in his scantily-clothed body, and
so weakened was he that his speed in flight would have
been no match for that of the infuriated bear. Happily
the antagonists were now half a yard apart, and before
the bear could close upon her victim a bullet from
Alarik's rifle was lodged in her brain.
The poor Ostiak looked round in amazement at his
unexpected rescue, and seeing Alarik, thanked him in
broken Russian for his timely help. The man was
short of stature, and had the flat nose, sunken eyes,
and yellow skin of his tribe ; but his countenance was
good and not wanting in intelligence, and his manner
less abject than that of the half- Christianized savages
Alarik had seen prowling about Berezov in quest of
broken victuals, or discarded raiment. On Alarik's
pointing to his wounds and disabled arm, he laughed
and made light of them, then led the way to a streamlet
which murmured hard by. Here he stooped, and after
THE EXILES OF BEREZOV.
lapping up long draughts of the cold flowing water,
washed the blood from his wounds, and rose up re-
freshed. He then with native courtesy invited the young-
gentleman to rest in his "Yourt," which was but a
hundred yards off. Alarik, however, having once before
entered an Ostiak dwelling, retained too lively a recol-
lection of its squalid appearance and unsavoury odours
to wish to repeat the experiment. He therefore
declined the invitation, and prepared to return to
Berezov. On asking the name of his new acquaintance,
Alarik was pleased but scarcely surprised to find that
it was " David," the very individual whom Poushkin
had so warmly recommended to his notice. From
this time forward they frequently met, and David
became enthusiastically attached to his young, kind-
hearted deliverer. It was now high summer at Bere-
zov, violent heat treading on the heels of winter
frost ; a scorching, glaring sun shone nearly the
twenty-four hours round, merely dipping beneath the
horizon at midnight. Its rays drew forth unwholesome
odours from the deep slimy mud ; if you sought a
refuge from the heat in the vast forest, a host of sting-
ing insects fastened upon you; if you sought for fresh air
by the river brink, the mosquitos drove you away. It
was only in early morning that these winged torments
could be avoided, so the Berezov world generally went
abroad before breakfast. The men, that is such as had
not gone with the Oby fleet, usually bathed each morning
in the Soswa; and amongst the most regular bathers were
Count Templitz and his son. About seven o'clock one
July day both were proceeding to the water's edge, and
as usual had contrived a meeting under the cedars.
They had fallen into earnest talk, which ended by the
THE EXILES OF EEREZOV.
count's laying his thin white hand on his son's shoulder,
and saying, " The sight of you, dear boy, has put new
life into your mother and Fridchen, and done much,
very much, for me. God willing, we look to seeing you
again in two or three years, should my life and their
exile drag on so long ; now, it is right you should leave
us. Go back to Europe, my Alarik, and make our
hearts glad by walking manfully in the paths of truth
and honour. It is not fit you should linger longer here ;
next week a vessel leaves us for Tobolsk, and for reasons
which, in former conversations, I have detailed to you,
your mother and I are anxious you should take your
passage in it ; delay will only make the parting more
bitter to us all."
Alarik silently acquiesced, having nothing to oppose
to his parent's stringent reasons but a scheme, wilder,
he b^gan to fear, than any Don Quixote had ever in-
lulged in. So the matter was settled, and they turned
their steps to a secluded bend in the river, their usual
resort. There had been several terrific storms of late,
and much thunder-rain in the Oural mountains, where
the Soswa rises, so the river was swollen and turbid.
This was rather an attraction to the count, who wa,s
an excellent swimmer, and in spite of his diminished
strength, liked breasting the rapid waters.
Meanwhile, Frida had coaxed her mother to accom-
pany her to Prassenko's farm and see the cows milked.
As they walked there, the morning air smelt fresh and
sweet, and the sun's glowing orb seemed to Frida to be
playing at hide and seek with her through the dark pine
foliage. They found Anna Timothevna in her cow-house,
bright and active, feeling her way with a stick, and recog-
nizing each cow by some peculiarity in its shape or voice.
THE EXILES OP BEEEZOV.
She stroked the little girl's fair hair, greeted the countess
with a respect due as much to her misfortunes as to her
rank, and begged her to rest on a bench, while a bowl
of foaming new milk was brought to her. Then she
did the honours of her garden, a small patch of ground
planted with radishes, turnips, and cabbages ; these last,
owing to the shortness of the summer, growing only
into leaves, and never attaining to a heart ! While the
gentle countess was trying to admire this meagre array
of vegetables, the quick ear of Madame Prassenko was
caught by distant shouts and cries. The noise increased,
and presently hurried footsteps drew near, and the
farmyard gate was flung open. " Oh, Anna Timo-
thevna," cried a Cossack farm-boy, bursting in, " he is
drowned ! I saw him sink the third time ! the current
was too strong, and he is drowned !"
" Who ? Prassenko ?" shrieked the blind woman,
flinging down her staff, and raising both hands to
heaven ; " Prassenko drowned, say you?"
" Prassenko is safe enough at his office," replied the
lad, " he bathed an hour ago ; 'tis the foreign gentle-
man, the exile, I speak of."
A stifled cry was heard from behind Anna Timo-
thevna, and the countess, ashy pale, came forward, and
begged, in her low sweet voice, to be told what had
happened. The lad stood before her dumb and
sheepish; but Kozlov, the Cossack who had charge of
the exiles, had now come up and answered in great
agitation, " 'Tis true, your grace; the count, Heaven rest
him, is drowned. It might be cramp, or it might be the
strength of the current ; I saw him carried down, heard
him shout lustily for help ; two or three bathers struck
out after him, but were foiled; one, the fur- trader
THE EXILES OF iJEREZOV.
Franz, swam boldly to the rescue, and all but caught
him up. A reach of the river hid them ont, and we
thought there was a chance for the count, but some
while after, Mr. Franz reappeared alone ; he was
quite done up, staggered, and would have dropped had
we not held him. 'Tis a bad job," he added, looking
round at the bystanders, " a very bad job for me !
Government holds me answerable for the count!"
These last words did not reach the unhappy lady,
for she had sunk down insensible, and been carried tc
Madame Prassenko's chamber, a number of wailing
women following. Frida, too much awe-struck to weep,
held her mother's hand fast in hers.
It was long, very long, before the countess could
be roused from her deadly faintness ; at last she
raised herself on one arm, and looked round with a
bewildered glance on the many faces bending over her.
Then her eyes rested on Frida, and she murmured, but
fortunately too low to be understood by the others, " My
Alarik; where is my boy ? bring him to me !"
" Presently, dear mamma," answered the trembling
Frida ; "but you nm^fc rest first, yon are so tired. Dear
Madame Prassenko, might not mamma perhaps fall
asleep, if she were left alone with me ?"
Kind Anna Timothevna took the hint, and cleared
the room at once. Then she groped to the windows
and drew the curtains close, as though she felt that
" day's garish eye" ought not to look in on sorrow like
theirs. When she left the room, Frida followed her on
tiptoe. " Dear Anna Timothevna," said she, blushing
crimson at her first approach to a ruse, " mamma wishes
to see the the kind fur-trader, who tried so hard to
save papa; may Kozlov go seek him, and bring him here?"
THE EXILES OF BEREZOV.
" Surely, my lamb," was the prompt reply ; and
Kozlov was summoned, and told them he had jusfc
seen Mr. Franz hovering near the gate, and had
answered his inquiries after the poor lady. So Mr.
Franz was recalled, and ushered at once into the
darkened room. He closed the door, shot the bolt
noiselessly, and dropped on one knee by his mother's
side. Alarik's face wore a strange look,' troubled but
not sad, the sunken eyes bright, the thin cheekbones
flushed, as if he were feverish from over-fatigue. He
said, after a pause, " Mamma, "I have something to tell,
something very unexpected, tidings of joy, great joy:
can you bear it, darling mother ?"
She gazed on him fearfully, as though he were
raving, or she in a dream. "Mother," he went on,
" my father lives ; he is very ill, exhausted, but not dead.
No, thank God, I have saved him ; some good angel
strengthened me, and I drew him to shore ; I cannot
think how I did it ! David, my trusty Ostiak, chanced
to be fishing at that spot ; to him I committed the
almost senseless body, pointing out a little cave under
the river bank, where he might conceal it. I durst
not linger near the spot, no, not for an instant, for see,
mother, here is our golden opportunity of escape, so
long watched for, long prayed for ! Quick as thought,
a scheme flashed through my brain ; spent as I was, I
dashed into the water, and rejoined the bathers. Seeing
me alone, they at once concluded all was lost. I
let them think so ; I gladly heard them express their
belief that the body could not be recovered, that
Soswa never gave up her dead ! Thus all inquiry
will be hushed up, and we may work out our plan
of escape, unsuspected."
THE EXILES OF BEREZOV.
"Now, Heaven "be thanked !" murmured the
countess, " and you too, onr dear, dear boy ; but say, my
Alarik, is your father not wholly exhausted ? Those
icy waves, that fearful struggle, can he indeed survive
them ? Oh ! would I were with him, to watch and tend
him, and fan the spark of life into a flame."
"You soon will be, I trust," said Alarik. "I stole
a glance at him on my way hither, and found that
David had poured some drops of vodky down his
throat, and that friction, and the warmth of David's
reindeer mantle, had brought back some vital heat;
I even fancied he returned the pressure of my hand."
The astonishment, the rapture of mother and child
over these tidings, can scarcely be imagined. Pru-
dence obliged Alarik to cut the interview short, and
as soon as they were calm, he said gravely, "Now 7
a word about the future, which looks dark and doubt-
rul still; we must guard our secret jealously; you,
mother, will of course go home at once, and you
have now a pretext for strict privacy ; I pray you seek
out the safest hiding-place for my father, if possible,
within your own chamber ; Fridchen must set her wits
to work, and rid us of Kozlov this evening. The nights
are, happily, more dusky than they were, and by eleven
o'clock all Berezov will be in bed. I will then bring my
father to you, if he is well enough to be moved. Our
further plans it will take time and thought to mature ;
and now, good night, my own mother, and may God
and his holy ones keep you." So he left them.
All succeeded to a wish that night ; and while Koslov
was off guard, and the good Berezovians were wrapped in
slumber, the count was installed in a low, dark lumber
closet within his wife's room. A bed of soft warm furs
THE EXILES OP BEKEZOV.
was arranged for him, and for many days lie did not
rise from it, so much had the chill and struggle
weakened his frame. Madame de Templitz was his
physician and nurse, and Frida his companion. The
faithful Ostiak David was invaluable as a go-between
Alarik and his family at this juncture, and proved
worthy of the confidence which circumstances obliged
them to repose in him. Once or twice a week, Alarik
(who now ventured to call openly on the ladies) was
jsmuegled into his father's presence, and he saw with
joy that the hope of release already revived the exile's
heart, and made life dear in his eyes.
THE EXILES OF BEEEZOV.
" Screw up your courage to the sticking-place."
BY the end of August, the brief autumn of Berezov
was over, and winter had set in. September opened
with keen frosts ; a fall of snow soon covered houses,
churches, and streets, with a mantle of dazzling white,
and roofed ever the branching cedar forest. The Bere-
zovians came out in Ostiak costume, that is, in complete
suits of reindeer skins with the hair turned inside.
Stoves were lighted in every house, glass- windows taken
out, and replaced with fish-skins for the sake of warmth.
The days shortened rapidly, and by the first week in Oc-
tober it was pitch-dark at five o'clock, unless moonlight,
or the bright northern lights, lit up the sky. Herds of
reindeer now wandered back from their summer pas-
tures in the Oural, stalking with stately gait and branch-
ing antlers over the crisp snow. Pleasure parties in
sledges traversed the plains, or ventured along the
smaller rivers. The rapid Soswa was bound in icy
chains, under which its pent-up flood moaned and
gurgled mournfully. Keen winds blew, and woe to the
rash wight who faced them unrnufEed ! Frostbitten
chin or nose was the sure consequence of such impru-
To many at Berezov the period that elapsed before
the freezing of the rivers seemed irksome, as all com-
munication with the outer world was cut off for five or
six weeks. The horn that heralded the first Tobolsk
mail was joyfully hailed, and by none more joyfully than
THE EXILES OF BEREZOV.
by Alarik, to whose mother it brought the imperial
"permit" to return to Europe as a widow. The
" Naschalnik," or mayor of Berezov himself, brought this
important paper to the gabled house, and read its con-
tents to the veiled and silent countess. He then asked po-
litely how soon her grace intended profiting by the czar's
gracious permission ? She replied that her movements
depended on those of some Berezov merchants, whose
company would be a welcome protection to herself and
her child. The Naschalnik pondered a moment, then
said, "It occurs to me, gracious lady, that the fur-
trader, young Franz, whom painful circumstances have
brought to your grace's notice, is on the point of return-
ing to Europe. He is a well-disposed youth, a superior
youth, I may say, considering his line of life ; with your
grace's leave, I will retain him as your escort. The
cossack Kozlov shall also attend you to the Russian
This last announcement proved as annoying as the
first had been welcome, for Kozlov was a low, prying
fellow, with little of honesty or feeling in his com-
position, and his presence was very disagreeable to
the countess ; however, her attempts to shake him off
were vain, so she submitted with a sigh. And now
the business of packing up began ; it was not heavy, as
the countess gave almost all her books and furniture to
her fellow exiles, and to such Berezovians as had shown
her kindness. Many of these thronged her court-yard,
bringing parting gifts, and smothering Frida with kisses
and tears; Madame Prassenko, however, was the only per-
son admitted to see the countess, who pleaded illness, and
not untruly. Now the decisive hour was come, she felt
sick at heart at the thought of her husband's danger,
THE EXILES OF BEREZOV.
the risks of the journey, the dreadful consequences to
Alarik as well as to him, should he be found out. Her
musings "by day, her dreams by night, turned on this.
Katurally timid, she could scarcely have faced the enter-
prise at all, but for Alarik' s cheering presence, and the
still more cheering resource of heartfelt prayer. Even-
ing after evening she knelt for hours in the neighbour-
ing church, and often Frida would join her, and
stay till moonlight streamed in through the narrow
windows of mica-slate high overhead, and rested on the
old, old blackened images of saints that stared down
upon her from their niches.
Alfie's snow-clad grave had been visited for the last
time, for they were to set out that evening, the snow
being crisper and firmer by night than by day. The
" narta," or sledge, that was to convey the countess was
at the door. As is usual when women ^r invalids travel,
boards had been nailed round it, giving it the appearance
of a chest ; over this a strong cloth was stretched tent-
wise, with openings on each side for, getting in or out.
Curtains might be drawn across these openings. The
jaside of such vehicles is always stuffed with feather-
beds and soft warm wraps ; so it excited no remark when
Alarik and his trusty Ostiak came hastily forth from the
house, bearing what looked like a collection of fur cloaks ;
this they laid carefully at the bottom of the narta ; then
Alarik offered his hand to the countess, and assisted her
into the sledge. " Courage, madame," he said, " all pro-
mises well for our journey ; relays of horses are provided
along the road, and, with your leave, I will myself be
your charioteer at least till we have passed over the
rough ice of the Soswa." He now placed Frida by her
mother ; the child tore herself weeping from the arms of
THE EXILES OF BEREZOV.
Anna Timothevna, who hung round her neck a tarnished
but precious cross of gold and enamel. Kozlov, rather
sulkily, obeyed Alarik's orders, and mounted the box
of one of the baggage-sledges ; in this order they bade
farewell to Berezov, the faithful David running by his
young master's side, with wistful, affectionate eyes,
until his breath was fairly exhausted. He then re-
turned slowly and sadly to his "yourt," which the
gratitude of the Templitz family had enabled him to
stock with every article of furniture and dress most
coveted amongst the Ostiaks. From this time he was
looked up to as one of their most wealthy and influ-
ential chiefs. A glorious aurora borealis lighted the
heavens as our travellers set out ; over the black
sky, where one or two stars faintly twinkled, stretched
% luminous arch from east to west; lightning-like
flames, blood-red, emerald green, or clear yellow,
played up and down in it ; sometimes they shot up to
the centre of the sky, vanished, reappeared, and being
joined by rays from the arch, formed a magnificent dome
of light. This glorious illumination gilded the first
stage of their journey, then faded away, leaving them
to the soft guidance of the silver moon.
* * * *
That moon waxed and waned, and another succeeded
her, and still our travellers fared forward in cold, weari-
ness, and intense, never-resting anxiety. Thanks, under
Providence, to Alarik's care, they had rolled safely
over the frozen breast of the Irtish, and eluded the police
of Tobolsk. They had managed, without raising sus-
picions, to supply their beloved charge with daily food,
and a tolerable amount of fresh air. Though weak and
emaciated, lie was not ill, ncr was he always aware of
THE EXILES OF BEEEZOV.
the hundred hair-breadth escapes that befell him. If he
was made conscious of danger, it was by the curdling
cheek and anxious eyes of his wife and child, never by
rash word or exclamation from their sealed lips. Even
Frida, young girl as she was, suppressed her feelings,
taught by that rugged nurse Adversity.
Hope begins to thrill through their hearts as they
/eave the steppes of Siberia far behind, and fly over the
Russian plains. At Ekaterinburg, Perm, ISTiznei Nov-
gorod, and other towns which lie on their route, their
sledge is subjected to no strict scrutiny. Alarik's vehicle
and baggage are indeed carefully overhauled, but the pale
widow and her helpless child are allowed to recline almost
undisturbed in their "narta." Thus they reach Kief, where
Alarik has a confidential friend, brother to the fur- trader
Franz, whose passport he had borrowed. At this friend's
hospitable house they spend the night, and for the first
time since leaving Berezov enjoy the luxury of com-
fortable beds, and of feeling safe for the moment. " One
struggle more and they are free;" that struggle is to take
place when they reach the frontier of Polish Galicia,
now not far distant. There is a Russian custom-house
there, and its officers are strict, and how to escape their
search Alarik finds not, though he thinks and thinks
the matter over till his young brow is furrowed with
care. Plans, which had seemed feasible a week before,
look terribly impossible now, and an agonizing fear
shoots through him, that his rashness may plunge
father, mother, and Frida into deeper depths of woe
than they have known yet ; but he drives the thought
away, and prays, and trusts, and will act too, at the
right moment, boldly !
From Kief there was a change in the order of march.
TEE EXILES OP BEREZOV.
The furs were left in the warehouse, and the sledges
which, held them dismissed. Louis Franz (who was
devoted to the Templitz family) begged to accompany
his beloved Count Alarik a few miles at least on his
perilous journey. So he drove one sledge, keeping
Kozlov as much as possible near him, while Count
Alarik, as usual, drove the other. Somehow, these
arrangements made Kozlov very restless and excited,
and at the last post-house before the frontier, Franz was
only just in time to stop a private conference between
him and the people of the station. He ordered Kozlov
to mount the box, which the fellow did sullenly, and
muttering evil words under his breath. ' The mystery
was soon explained. As they were about to start, a
look from Frida brought her brother to her side.
"Alarik," she whispered, white as death, "my folly has
undone all ! I heard papa gasp, so I looped the curtains
close, and raised the furs to give him air. I heard a
sound and looked up, and there, through a chink in the
curtain, was Kozlov gazing in, with such a hard, cruel
eye. Oh, brother, we are lost !"
"'Not yet, Frida," said Alarik, setting his teeth fast,
"not yet, God helping us; but I'm glad I know all;
now, cheer mamma up, and be ready for anything." He
glanced towards his mother, and saw with joy a quiet,
trustful smile on her lips. Then he consulted for a few
moments with Louis Franz, keeping his eye on Kozlov
all the while, and ended by saying aloud, " Will you,
friend, let me drive the second sledge this stage, and
yourself take charge of the gracious lady's ? I have had
enough of that pulling horse for the present." So it
was agreed; Alarik mounted the box, took the reins from
Kozlov, and they set forward, in thickly falling snow.
THE EXILES OP BEREZOV.
The frontier is all but reached, by a road lying
through a broken country, with deep vales and high
sharp knolls. At first it is pretty open, then the road
plunges into a thick grove of trees, none of them tall or
large. Their leafless boughs are glittering with ice-
crystals, and rainbow hues. The two vehicles keep
together, and Kozlov's eyes roll uneasily about him, but
he keeps silence. No sooner have they reached the
heart of the wood than Count Alarik pulls the left rein,
and dashes down a glade, heedless of the violent shaking
of the sledge, which upsets in a minute or two. He
and Kozlov flounder in the snow, and before the latter
can rise, Alarik is upon him, ties his hands with a rope
he holds in readiness, and gags him with a scarf. " I
have no wish to hurt you, friend," he says in a low,
determined tone, " for, after all, you are but doing your
duty ; but your clothes I must have instantly, and with-
out a word. Here is a suit to replace them, now change
them at once, or I can't answer for your safety." A
loaded pistol, held at Kozlov's head, gave weight to the
threat, and he saw he had no choice but to obey. Count
Alarik' s next move was to secure him to a tree, pro-
mising that if he remained still he should be released
tvithin a few hours. He then took one horse out of the
sledge, led him back to the road, and with Louis Franz's
help harnessed him abreast with the two that already
drew the countess's narta. Count Templitz meanwhile
came forth from his lair, and with his son's assistance
(for his limbs were so cramped he could hardly
stand) hastily put on the Cossack's dress and fur
cap ; his face had already been stained with walnut-
juice, so as to hide the "pale cast of thought"
and suffering which would have betrayed him. His
THE EXILES OP BEREZOV.
emaciated figure was muffled, as much for concealment
as for warmth, in a fur cloak. The supposed Cossack
now mounted the box alongside of Alarik. It was
thought more prudent that Louis Franz should accom-
pany the party no further, so with great reluctance he
lingered behind, taking possession of the forsaken
sledge, and its one horse.
Our travellers drew up at the Custom-house, a low,
wooden building by the roadside, about two hundred
yards from Austrian ground, and divided from it by a
broad rivule.^ and stone bridge. Two or three officials
THE EXILES OF BEREZOY.
in uniform and helmet came out, and business began.
One of them examined Alarik's borrowed pass ; perhaps
the last adventurous six months had aged and broadened
him, for he certainly fitted better to the description it
contained than he had done at Tobolsk. It was accepted
without remark. Meanwhile the supposed Cossack
tendered to a second officer the papers connected with
Madame de Templitz ; he acted his part coolly, and
mustered Russian enough to answer the questions put
to him, briefly, and in a hoarse, gruff voice. All went
smoothly so far.
"While the baggage was being searched, Frida and
her mother were courteously pressed by the custom
house officer to take shelter within doors. But their
anxiety was too feverish to allow of this ; they stood
for ten minutes in the road, trembling more from fear
than cold, and gladly acted on' the permission given
them to ensconce themselves in their sledge again.
The supposed Kozlov now advanced, and, in pursuance
of a scheme previously concerted between him and his
son, muttered a request for permission to proceed to
Empnitz, a village some miles off, in Galicia, whither,
he said, family affairs urgently called him. For this
purpose a written pass had to be made out ; Count
Alarik, who noticed that his father was becoming
chilled and exhausted, now called to him from the
office-door where he was standing, to mount and take
the reins, as the horses were growing fidgetty. He
himself almost stamped with impatience while the
officer leisurely endorsed the remaining papers, handed
them to him, took a hair out of his peu, and addressed
himself to filling in a pass for the supposed Cossack.
To hide his agitation, Alarik walked meanwhile to a
THE EXILES OF BEREZOV.
small window which looked back on the Kief road.
What was it that caught his attention there, suspended
his breathing, and made him strain eye and ear in
speechless agony ? It was the figure of a man, running
this way, shouting, gesticulating, yelling, as he ran.
Alarik's sight was very keen, and the snow no longer
falling, so he could not be mistaken ! It was Kozlov
himself! some peasant must have struck upon him in
the wood, and set him free, and now he was at hand,
burning for vengeance, and the truth must instantly
come out ; and Alarik's father ! what, what would be his
Quick as light, Alarik snatched the still wet passport
from the astonished officer, darted out of the office, sprang
to his father's side on the box, seized the reins, and with
whip and voice urged the three horses forward. They,
full of fire, though small and rough, set out at a gallop,
rather urged on than otherwise by the shouts and calls to
stop vociferated from behind. A pistol was fired, possibly
by Kozlov ; the shot grazed Alarik's ear, and touched
the middle horse, which, maddened with pain, rushed
on like wildfire. The land of their exile and bitter
bondage is left behind ; the bridge is gained, crossed ;
they are on Austrian ground, safe under Austrian pro-
tection! their toils and perils, they fondly hope, are
ended now ; yes, ended ; for somehow or other, either
influenced by the persuasions of the Austrian officials,
with whom they were on friendly terms, or highly
bribed by a certain great mercantile house at Kief, the
custom-house officers saw fit to let the matter drop.
After the first burst of rage was over, even Kozlov was not
sorry to have it hushed up, and to leave the Russian
authorities in their belief that Count Templitz had been
THE EXILES OF BEKEZOY.
drowned at Berezov. So Alarik reached his beautiful
Galician home in peace, and there with delight unspeak-
able, he installed his beloved father and mother. As
time passed on he saw them recover health and cheer-
fulness, he saw his little Frida grow up to woman-
hood, lovely and loveable, and together they daily
blessed the Author and Giver of all mercies, who had
led them by thorny paths to such great happiness.*
* The writer is greatly indebted to Mrs. Atkinson's charming book, " Tartar
Steppes ;" also to " Bevelations of Siberia, by a Polish exile."